Department of Health and Social Care
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News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 23 September 2009

Young first time mothers are being helped to improve the life chances of their babies and fathers are 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:

· Effective delivery is having a positive impact on some of the most vulnerable young families in society;

· There are early signs that the programme is having a positive effect on reducing smoking during pregnancy and increasing rates of breastfeeding;

· 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.

Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said:

“Today’s report offers us an invaluable insight into this programme as we look to expand it across England. The report builds on earlier findings that the Family Nurse Partnership programme can have a positive impact on some of our most vulnerable families.

“Becoming a parent is a life changing event and caring for a child can sometimes be challenging. The Family Nurse Partnership programme provides a new way of working with young parents who need our help the most and I am pleased to see that it is successfully offering young mothers and fathers access to the best advice for making positive decisions for themselves and their families.”

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.”

Notes to Editors

The Nurse-Family Partnership Programme: Implementation in England Second year in 10 pilot sites: the infancy period by the University of London, Berbeck can be found at 40 sites where the FNP programme is currently running are:

o April 2007

§ Barnsley, County Durham and Darlington, Derby, Manchester, Slough, Somerset, South East Essex, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Walsall.

o 2008

§ Birmingham South, Blackpool, Calderdale, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Coventry, Cumbria, Hastings and Rother, Hull, Islington, Lambeth, Leeds, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Northamptonshire, Nottingham City, Plymouth, Southampton, Stockport, Stoke on Trent and Sunderland;

o 2009

§ Birmingham (East and North), Bradford and Airedale, Cambridgeshire, Doncaster, Ealing, Gateshead Tyne and Wear, Hammersmith and Fulham ,Kirklees, Knowsley, Lewisham, Medway, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Sandwell, Sheffield, Swindon, Telford and Wrekin , Waltham Forest and Wirral.

The Family Nurse Partnership is a joint Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families project, originally announced as part of the Cabinet Office’s publication, ‘Reaching Out: An Action Plan on Social Exclusion’.It is a licensed programme with an extensive evidence base, and has been developed over 30 years in the USA by Professor David Olds at the University of Colorado. The Family Nurse Partnership programme was first developed in the USA where the programme was proven to have lasting health and wider impacts, such as reduction in children’s injuries, improved school readiness, reductions in arrest and criminal behaviour in both mothers and children 15 years on, as well as economic benefits. It is currently being piloted in 40 sites across England, increasing to 50 by January 2010. The Government’s aim is for this to increase to 70 by April 2011, with a view to rolling it out across England over the next decade. Early findings suggest the programme has delivered a 20 per cent relative reduction in smoking during pregnancy and a breastfeeding initiation rate of 63 per cent compared to a national rate of 53 per cent for this group. Today’s evaluation report only covers the initial 10 pilot areas.


Department of Health
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