MORE than 50 “troubled families” have been helped to turn their lives around in Hampshire within the first year of a new project.

The county council and partner agencies have identified 546 high-risk families in need of support.

The aim of the Government scheme is to challenge long-term unemployment, anti-social behaviour and truancy.

Measures of success include parents or older siblings being helped back into work or training, improved school attendance and less youth crime.

Councillor Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services, said: “We want to make sure we are making a really substantial improvement in the lives of families and not just ticking performance boxes.

“We expect more positive outcomes in the next six months.”

Speaking at a meeting of the full council, he said support continued for families who had been helped successfully.

About 150 families have a dedicated support worker who visits them regularly, in some cases daily, to provide more intensive support, including parenting. Another 500 families benefit from a multi-agency, single family plan.

The council is working with partner agencies such as district councils, the NHS and police to provide more co-ordinated support.

The initiative is designed to help families with deep-rooted problems, including a history of drug and alcohol misuse.

Cllr Mans said: “I really believe this programme is a game-changer.”

He said local communities also benefited. Nationally, it is estimated the cost of dealing with one troubled family by public bodies can be £75,000 a year, and in the long-term the scheme should save taxpayers’ money.

The scheme, funded with £5.3million from Whitehall and £1m from the county, aims to help 1,590 families across Hampshire by March 2015.