Project to help families in Adur and Worthing hailed a success

A PROJECT helping vulnerable families in Adur and Worthing has been praised by councillors.

Councillors at a meeting of Adur District Council agreed to support the expansion of the Family Intervention Project (FIP).

They agreed to co-ordinate a county-wide project, expanding the FIP into Arun and Crawley, with funding from West Sussex County Council.

Councillor David Simmons, cabinet member for health safety and well-being, presented a report on the FIP to his fellow councillors.

He told them one family had 37 “interventions” before becoming involved with FIP. This year, the same family was visited only five times.

“There is an enormous reduction in demand on resources after helping this family to deal with their issues and the future is looking much brighter for them,” he said.

Councillor Julie Searle said: “It is absolutely a good news story. It is working very well.”

She said spending the money now would lead to marvellous outcomes, reducing anti-social behaviour and helping families with parenting.

The Adur and Worthing FIP was set up in April 2010 as a pilot for West Sussex.

It provides intensive parenting and family support for families with multiple problems involving anti-social behaviour and youth crime who are at risk of losing their home or children.

A report, considered by councillors, said the first year of the project had seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour and improvements in health and employment levels.

One case study included in the report outlined the story of a family of six living in a three-bedroom house in Worthing.

Prior to FIP involvement, problems included neighbours campaigning for the family to be evicted, debt, exclusion from school, physical and mental-health issues and anti-social behaviour.

After four months, school nurses reported the children were fit and healthy, the children had been removed from social services’ child protection plan and there were no further complaints to the police, anti-social behaviour team or housing society.

Councillor Neil Parkin, leader of the council, said: “It is amazing how it is turning around families and saving lots and lots of public money down the line, which is why the county council is embracing it.”

Councillor Janet Mockridge questioned whether the staff needed for the project expansion would be recruited from Adur and Worthing.

Mr Simmons said some existing staff had been recruited and others would have the option to apply for positions.