Additional funding is being made available for a council programme which provides support to families in County Durham.
Durham County Council runs the County Durham Stronger Families programme, through which it provides support with any problems or difficulties families may be having.
The council’s Cabinet is next week to be told how the programme is ranked 37th nationally out of 141 in terms of the number of families it has helped.
As a result of its success, it is now one of only 14 nationwide to be given additional money from government of almost £700,000 over two years – taking its total funding for the period up to 2020 to more than £3m.
Stronger Families began its second phase in 2014 as one of 50 ‘early starter’ programmes across the country, with the aim of helping 4,360 families by 2020.
As of the end of March, the programme had successfully helped 1,529 families, with 749 of these through the actions of its One Point Service, 396 its Youth Offending Service and 208 its Families First team.
Cabinet will hear how these figures saw the council improve on its previous position of 45th in terms of numbers of families helped nationally.
On the back of this, the council is one of 14 to have been given Earned Autonomy status which will see it receive its government funding for the entirety of the period up to 2020, up front.
This follows changes to how councils can receive their Troubled Families Grants from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with authorities only able to receive them on a results based basis.
The changes mean the council will receive an additional £697,000 over 2018/19 and 2019/20, giving it a total grant of £3,349,100.
The meeting will hear how the council and organisations with which it delivers the programme have developed a memorandum of understanding outlining how the additional investment will transform how it is delivered.
A number of targets have also been set, including reductions in the rates of looked after children, from 791 last year to 737 by 2020; and in 16 and 17 year olds who are not in education, employment or training, from 475 per 10,381 children to 392.
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, the council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “Our Stronger Families programmes strives to ensure children and families with a range of complex needs receive coordinated, effective, whole family support which will allow them to achieve significant and sustained change.
“It is pleasing to be near the top of the table nationally in terms of the numbers of families we have helped and we are delighted that this performance has been recognised through the granting of Earned Autonomy status.
“The funding this affords us will allow us to transform the way the programme is delivered and we look forward to setting about meeting the performance targets we have set in the coming years.”