Twenty sites around the UK are to test out the new Family Nurse Partnership scheme in a £30m expansion of the Child Health Promotion Programme.
The partnership is a model of intensive nurse-led home visiting for vulnerable first time young parents.
Family nurses will visit young, disadvantaged parents from early pregnancy until their child is two years old.
The Department of Health hope that nurses will build close, supportive relationships with families and guide inexperienced teenagers to adopt healthier lifestyles, improve their parenting skills and become self sufficient.
Health Minister Ann Keen said: "The expansion of the Family Nurse Partnership scheme will also be delivered through chlidren's centres and there has been great local interest in this programme with over 50 PCTs and local authorities wanting to take part.
"I'm pleased to hear that progress is being made by the current ten pilot areas over the last year. We still have much to learn about the programme but I look forward to seeing the full evaluation due out later this year."
Cabinet Office Minister Ed Miliband added: "The Family Nurse Partnership is a great example of a service that 'Thinks Family'.
"It provides tailored and sustained support to young and vulnerable families, building on strengths to help parents achieve their potential and give children the best possible start in life."
Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"I am very concerned that a universal service of health visiting has been eroded - I currently practice as a specialist nurse practitioner to children and families in general practice,available to all families when they present to us, this is the most satifying way of practicing and seeing that it does make a difference to family members, but we still need a robust and expert health visting service there is enough work for all of us to do." - Mary McCooey Deda, General Practice Hackney, East London
"I think this is long overdue children are themselves becoming parents and lack the required parenting skills to care adquately for their children. Do hope it brings benefits." - V Henry
"ALL families, young children, people with disabilities and the elderly should have access to a fully staffed, health visiting service - not a service that is concentrated on the most vulnerable two percent of the population. Health visitors have long been able to address the public health needs of the UK population they serve and we do not require a service based on an imported American model. Health Visiting IS the service that 'Thinks Family', we do tailor and provide support to ALL families 'building on strengths to help parents achieve their potential and give children the best possible start in life' (quoting Mr Miliband). The Government has a health visiting service which has vast expertise, let us do the role we were trained for and provide a FULLY resourced health visiting service for the population of the UK. The Government must stop the destruction of the health visiting service now." - Name and address supplied
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