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SIN BINS FOR
Children's Secretary Ed Balls
Thursday July 23,2009
By Alison Little
THOUSANDS of the worst families in England are to be put in “sin
bins” in a bid to change their bad behaviour, Ed Balls announced
The Children’s Secretary set out £400million plans to put 20,000
problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own
They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go
to bed on time and eat proper meals.
Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out
home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and
Around 2,000 families have gone through these Family
Intervention Projects so far.
But ministers want to target 20,000 more in the next two years,
with each costing between £5,000 and £20,000 – a potential total
bill of £400million.
Ministers hope the move will reduce the number of youngsters who
get drawn into crime because of their chaotic family lives, as
portrayed in Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless.
Sin bin projects operate in half of council areas already but Mr
Balls wants every local authority to fund them.
He said: “This is pretty tough and non-negotiable support for
families to get to the root of the problem. There should be
Family Intervention Projects in every local authority area
because every area has families that need support.”
But Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is all much
too little, much too late.
“This Government has been in power for more than a decade during
which time anti-social behaviour, family breakdown and problems
like alcohol abuse and truancy have just got worse and worse.”
Mr Balls also said responsible parents who make sure their
children behave in school will get new rights to complain about
those who allow their children to disrupt lessons.
Pupils and their families will have to sign behaviour contracts
known as Home School Agreements before the start of every year,
which will set out parents’ duties to ensure children behave and
do their homework.
The updated Youth Crime Action Plan also called for a crackdown
on violent girl gangs as well as drug and alcohol abuse among
But a decision to give ministers new powers to intervene with
failing local authority Youth Offending Teams was criticised by
Les Lawrence, of the Local Government Association, said they did
“crucial” work and such intervention was “completely