A UK expert on dealing with families told a St Vincent de Paul (SVP) East Region seminar in Dublin on Saturday 7 May that making sure children went to school, well fed, clothed and happy is the silver bullet on social policy.
“It literally transforms families and children., said Louise Casey, who between 2011 and 2015 was Director General of the Troubled Families programme at the UK Department of Communities & Local Government.
She said that there were three measures of success for the UK programme. “The first is the education and welfare of children. The second was to get someone in the family working and the third to reduce significantly and in most cases halting crime and anti-social behaviour.”
She also said the building a relationship between a family and their worker is the key to change for many of those families.
Liam Casey, SVP East Region President said “In Ireland the relationship between families who seek help from SVP and the SVP members is crucial. In addition to providing practical help we encourage families to engage with other agencies such as MABS and also consider joining their local Credit Union, he said.
“We are always conscious that it is difficult for families to invite perfect strangers into their home and to give information about the family circumstances. Providing that information is a sign of the trust families have for the SVP. We constantly remind ourselves that we are guests in their homes. We are there on their terms, not ours.” he said.
Also speaking at the seminar was Noel Kelly from the Northside Partnership and the Prevention and Early Intervention Network. He said that it is important to start from where the families are, not the issues. Intervention in children’s early years is also crucial, he said.