Young first time mothers are being helped to care for their babies and encourage fathers to become more involved in the early years of their children's lives thanks to the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) programme, independent research published today has found.
The second year evaluation report of the FNP programme by University of London, Birbeck, which is joint between the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health, found that:
Mothers value the programme and believe it has made a positive difference to how they care for their baby and their own aspirations for the future;
Fathers involvement is especially high with more than half of Fathers present for at least one pregnancy visit;
A strong nurse-client relationship is key to its success – and clients are overwhelmingly positive about their family nurses, rating them on average 9 out of 10; and
Nurses have reported that their clients are more confident as parents, were playing with their children more, wanted to learn and had aspirations for the future.
Family Nurse Partnership is a £36 million programme providing intensive support for vulnerable first time young mothers and their families. Specially trained nurses work with them from early pregnancy until the child is two years old, building close relationships and guiding them towards adopting healthy lifestyles for themselves and their babies.
Health Minister Ann Keen said: "As a nurse myself, I know how this programme is at the heart of our policy for improving the life chances of the most vulnerable children and their families. There are now 40 test sites up and running and we will have 50 by next January. Early signs show that it is having a real impact on reducing smoking and improving breast feeding rates for young mothers.
"I welcome this report, which shows that the Family Nurse Partnership programme is continuing to be delivered well and is having a real impact on some of the most vulnerable babies and families in our society It gives us a real opportunity to prevent some of our most vulnerable children facing a lifetime of exclusion and failure."
"As a midwife and soon to be newly qualified public health nurse this programme is a positive and challenging opportunity for the young generations of families and health professionals. I feel that in practice the aims of this programme should be the aspirations of all health professionals working within woman and children services. This programme is an excellent investment for public health and most importantly for families and generations of families to come" - Christina Evans, Derry