The launch of the Troubled Families Programme in the wake of the 2011 riots conflated poor and disadvantaged families with anti-social and criminal families. The programme aimed to ‘turn around’ the lives of the country’s most ‘troubled families’, at a time of austerity and wide-ranging welfare reforms which hit the poorest families hardest.
This detailed, authoritative and critical account reveals the inconsistencies and contradictions within the programme, and issues of deceit and malpractice in its operation. It shows how this core government policy has stigmatised the families it claimed to support.
Paving the way for a government to fulfil its responsibility to families, rather than condemning them, this book will empower local authority workers, policy-makers and researchers, and anyone interested in social justice, to challenge damaging, aggressive neoliberal statecraft.
“Troublemakers’ undoubtedly deserves to be widely read and is to be highly recommended to anyone with an interest in community development, sociology, social policy or other cognate disciplines.” Community Development
"Stephen Crossley is out to make trouble, and in this book he succeeds in his aim...There is a lot of muck to be raked within contemporary social policy regarding work with children and families, and Crossley has produced an important book by performing this action here..." Critical and Radical Social Work
"...the most comprehensive study of this particular intervention to date, a detailed, passionate, and persuasive critique. It is highly recommended, and should be widely read." Journal of Social Policy
"Public sociology at its best. With great skill, Crossley skewers the assumptions behind the Troubled Families Initiative and exposes the flaws in its development. The result is a compelling and disturbing analysis of the production of ‘troubled families’ as a category and as a project for social policy." Steph Lawler, University of York
"This book presents an eviscerating case study of a deeply flawed policy intervention. It is insightful, original and deserves to be widely read." Val Gillies, University of Westminster
“A much-needed rigorous interrogation of the troubled moral dimensions of recent social policy and state intervention in family life. A must-read at a time when so much of our public discourse about policy and practice has been reduced to mere metrics and money.” Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England
Dr Stephen Crossley is a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Northumbria University. He completed his ESRC-funded PhD on ‘troubled families’ at the University of Durham. He is the author of 'In Their Place: The Imagined Geographies of Poverty' (Pluto Press, 2017). Prior to entering academia, he worked for local authorities and voluntary sector organisations in the North East of England in youth, community development and neighbourhood management roles. He can be followed on Twitter at @akindoftrouble
The ‘ong and undistinguished pedigree;
The opening of a policy window;
The 'evolution’ of the programme;
The responsibility deficit;
This thing called family intervention;
Research: help or hindrance?;
‘Nothing to hide’?