Councillor takes lead to help ‘troubled families’

Joanna Spicer
Joanna Spicer
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A leading councillor is to steer an initiative to turn around the lives of ‘troubled families’ across Suffolk.

County Cllr Joanna Spicer has been appointed the lead member for Suffolk Family Focus to help an estimated 1,150 troubled families.

They are defined by persistent school truancy and exclusion, youth crime as well as anti social behaviour interventions and worklessness.

To ‘foster more dramatic progress’ with the initiative, Cllr Spicer is ensuring it is backed by the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, of which she is chairman.

The board brings together organisations and figures such as the county council, NHS and police and crime commissioner.

She said: “If we can get the people working together around particular families the main benefit is helping those families out of their difficulties.”

Having been chairman of the health, police and fire authorities, she hopes her experience can ‘encourage closer working together’.

Cllr Mark Bee, leader of the county council, appointed Cllr Spicer as he felt they ‘must do more’ to help prevent tragedies such as that of young mother Fiona Anderson, who fell to her death at a car park in Lowestoft on the same day her three children were found dead at home.