A nurse-led pilot scheme aimed at increasing the life chances of vulnerable babies and young children has proved a success, it has been announced.
An independent evaluation of the Family Nurse Partnership programme found it to have proved a welcomed addition to services by those families that are most likely to gain benefit from it.
The pilot was trialled in 10 areas across England from April 2007 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department of Health. By sending a family nurse on intensive home visits to vulnerable first-time young parents from early pregnancy until their child was two years old, the nurses provided care for the babies and helped both the child and the parents adopt healthier lifestyles.
The evaluation found that those taking part in the programme value it, with many having a very high regard for their assigned nurse.
The nurses involved also praised the programme, noting that they have seen changes in health, relationships and maternal wellbeing among their clients.
Children's minister Beverly Hughes said: "I am pleased to see that the programme is giving these young mothers and fathers a fantastic opportunity to learn and develop crucial skills so that they can give their children the best start in life.
"The research shows that this alternative way of working by family nurses is making a real difference to the lives of young parents."