WORK to turn around the lives of problem families is set to be extended across East Lancashire as part of an £8.7million project.

Trials have been undertaken in Burnley, Preston, Lancaster and Wyre for the Working Together With Families initiative.

And it was found that with assistance from expert family and social workers, the involve-ment of problem families with the likes of police and the criminal justice system has dropped remarkably.

The scheme will now rolled out to boroughs such as Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale and Ribble Valley over the next two-and-a-half years.

Supporters of the work say that by reducing the need for police and social services input, around £82,000 per family can be saved by taxpayers.

Gail Porter, of the Children and Young People’s Directorate, said in a report: “Results from the test areas highlighted a reduction in demand for services and improved outcomes, such as school attend-ance and attainment. In one family there was a 90 per cent reduction in police call-outs over a six-week period.”

At the moment prof-essionals are working with 16 families in Burnley, and 18 more households are being considered for inclusion.

An estimated 2,630 families fit the profile for the ‘problem’ design-ation across Lancashire.

Funding has been given to turn around the lives of 2,192 families —on the basis that 15 per cent may make progress of their own accord without intervention.

In Hyndburn there are around 269 famililes with at least one major issue to be addressed, 371 in Burnley, 278 across Pendle, 195 in Rossendale and just 49 in Ribble Valley.

Targets have been set for those in charge of the project — there must be a 60 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour over six months and at least one adult should have moved off benefits and into employment, among other aims.