This petition was submitted by Whitehead-Ross Education and UNISON Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council Branch, having collected 24 signatures.
We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to protect the Families First budget in order to protect the most vulnerable families across Wales, including in our own area of Neath Port Talbot (NPT).
First is a Welsh Government-funded innovation programme that promotes the
development by local authority areas of effective multi-agency systems and
support, with a clear emphasis on prevention and early intervention for
families, particularly those living in poverty.
At the end of August, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities issued a letter to local authorities about the future of Families First, which is due to end in March 2017. In his letter he outlined the future priorities to address identified gaps in service provision for parents and young people and link the work of the programme clearly with the prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
The Cabinet Secretary is expected to make a formal announcement on the future of the programme in the autumn and budgetary allocations for each local authority will not be known until late December 2016. With Communities First coming to an end in March 2017, this reinforces the need for Families First to be protected.
In its first full year of operation, NPT's ‘Think Family’ early intervention and prevention programme supported almost 100 families to make positive changes and tackle issues before they became critical. Based on Government estimates that one troubled family can cost the taxpayer in the region of £75,000 per year, this represents a return on investment of £3.32 for every £1 spent and more than £7.3 million savings to the economy.
The Welsh Government reduced the Families First Grant in NPT by £260,000 for 2016/17, with a grant of £1,964,194. 2,586 individuals accessed a Families First service during 2015-16 in NPT.
Picture of a family
This petition was considered completed by the Petitions Committee at its meeting on 17/01/2017
The Committee considered comments from the petitioner and agreed to close the petition on the basis that the budget for Families First will be maintained for 2017-2018.
Assembly Constituency and Region
· South Wales West
Business type: Petition
Reason considered: Assembly Business;
Status: For consideration
First published: 15/11/2016
Decision due: Meeting Date by Petitions Committee