Specialist nurses will offer “tailored help and support” to the 16,000 most disadvantaged new parents in England by 2015, the government has announced.
An extension of the Family Nurse Partnership programme will provide “one-to-one” support for 5,000 extra young and disadvantaged mothers.
The government claims this will mean many children will get “a better start in live”.
Initial research in England has found that mothers who receive support from family nurses stop smoking during pregnancy, have high levels of breastfeeding, improved self-esteem and are much more likely to return to education or employment when their children are old enough for them to do so.
“Family Nurse Partnerships play a major role in supporting children in some of the most disadvantaged circumstances to have the very best start in life,” said Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter.
He added: “Expanding the family nurse partnership programme is just one of the things the Government is doing to give some of the most vulnerable children the vital support they need in their early years of life.”
The Family Nurse Partnership currently works with 11,000 families and three companies have been awarded a £17.5 million contract to lead the project.
The organisations are the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, the Impetus Trust and Social Research Unit at Dartington.
The new group will be responsible for national leadership, strategic development and governance as well as education and coaching of family nurses and supervisors