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‘Getting with the (troubled families) programme’: a review

  • Michael Lambert (a1) and Stephen Crossley (a2)

The commitment of the appointed Director General of the Troubled Families Unit, Louise Casey, that the Troubled Families Programme (TFP) was ‘an opportunity not to repeat the failed attempts of the past’ masks several enduring continuities (Casey, 2012: 3). This review article argues that the TFP should be seen as part of a wider spectrum of policies which locates ‘troubles’ or ‘problems’ in the family itself and emphasises behaviour as the target of action without regard to wider social or economic considerations. This policy process must be understood within a wider context of not only historical efforts ‘to constrain the redistributive potential of state welfare’ (Macnicol, 1987: 316) but also of contemporary forms of neoliberal governance of ‘the family’ (Butler, 2014; Crossley, 2016a; Gillies, 2014).

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