Involving fathers is the key to lifting families out of poverty and reducing anti-social behaviour, public services were warned in Birmingham.
Cabinet Minister Hilary Armstrong was speaking in the city at the launch of a new review of services aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable adults in society. The study will look at how well services recognise and respond to the specific needs of fathers.
It will also look at whether services such as job centres are taking the needs of parents into account. Staff working for local authorities and bodies such as Sure Start and the employment service will take part in the event.
They will discuss how the State can help families living in the most difficult conditions, including households where nobody works, where housing is poor or family income is extremely low.
The focus will be on 140,000 families – two per cent of the total – who have the biggest problems.
Black Country MP Pat McFadden (Lab Wolverhampton South East), a Cabinet Office Minister, will be among those taking part.
Birmingham suffers from a range of social problems, according to official figures. It has the highest infant mortality rate in the West Midlands, more than twice the English average.
The under-18 pregnancy rate in Birmingham is higher than the regional and English average and more than one in 100 families in Birmingham were accepted as being homeless in 2005/06.
Ms Armstrong said: "We are proud of this Government’s record in helping so many families lift themselves out of poverty, but some families have just not been able to take advantage of recent opportunities."
Mr McFadden will also visit The Haven in Wolverhampton, a refuge for homeless women who have experienced domestic violence.