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Troubled Families programme could be renamed, says minister

James Brokenshire fears that title of scheme is isolating and accusatory

Ministers could rebrand the Troubled Families programme because of concerns the name is isolating and accusatory, the communities secretary, James Brokenshire, has said in a speech defending its results.

The scheme, launched by David Cameron in 2011 after the London riots, targets families with repeating generational patterns of youth crime, long-term unemployment, teenage pregnancy and substance abuse.

It was expanded in 2015 to reach 400,000 families, but has attracted criticism for the pejorative ways that it has described the families it had been designed to help. Cameron blamed a small number of families for “a culture of disruption and irresponsibility that cascades down the generations”.

Louise Casey, the high-profile government adviser who launched the programme, told the Telegraph at the time: “We should be talking about things like shame and guilt … we have lost the ability to be judgmental because we worry about being seen as nasty to poor people.”

Announcing the interim findings from a national evaluation of the programme, Brokenshire said it had reduced the proportion of children going into care by a third and the proportion of adults being sent to prison by a quarter, compared with a similar control group.

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