‘Problem’ families should be put into care, says crime adviser

Problem families can cost the taxpayer £330,000 a year each as police and social services attempt to tackle the consequences of bad behaviour, the Government’s neighbourhood crime adviser said.

Louise Casey, director-general of the Home Office neighbourhood, said that a small number of families caused “phenomenal” problems as children were allowed to run riot on estates, and that politicians had to tackle poor parenting.

She said: “I am very clear that we need to have residential projects that I would almost equate with taking a family into care.”

“You have got to crack down on the very small number of absolutely problematic families that cause the most havoc in communities.

“That varies from the lowest level of disorder that we call anti-social behaviour to the nastiest crimes. I think they are few in number but the problems they cause in communities are phenomenal.”

Some of the worst parents were “deliberately choosing not to cope” with their children, she said.

Ms Casey told the Home Affairs select committee that the averge amount of money being spent on “chaotic” families is betweeen £250,000 to £330,000 each a year compared with the average cost of between £8,000 and £20,000 for providing intensive help for families.

She said poor parenting was one of the causes of crime and anti social behaviour. “We have to tackle poor parenting and get parents back in charge of their households”, Ms Casey said.

She added:”I think it is a subject that quite often people in public life and in politics are afraid to take on.”