The Family Nurse Partnership is a programme of intensive support, advice and information given to young, first-time mothers living in Birmingham. It aims to provide continuous care with the same Family Nurse during pregnancy and up until the child is two years old.
The nurse delivers care through regular meetings with the mother that cover personal health topics and the mothering role, how to link into other services for support eg. local children’s centres, health visitors and voluntary services, thinking and planning for the future and making and growing good relationships that can support the mother and her family.
The family nurses all have a background in maternal and child health, and undergo intensive additional training for the programme to develop their skills, which ultimately lie in being able to put the family at the centre, whilst ensuring the programme is fully delivered.
The family nurses work in partnership with a range of local services notably midwives, health visitors and local children’s centres so that the care that a young family receives feels joined up and enables them to access appropriate support in the long term.
Birmingham women aged under 19 and under expecting their first baby may be invited to join the programme if they are less than 28 weeks pregnant. No presumptions are made about their potential parenting ability, the programme aims only to develop and enhance the skills they already have.
The family nurse partnership has been running in the United States for 30 years, where results of randomised controlled trials and evaluation studies show improvements in the short, medium and long term across a range of outcomes including improvements in antenatal health, reductions in children’s injuries, neglect and abuse, improved parenting practices, , and childhood behaviour and also an increase in readiness for school and , improved parental economic self-sufficiency.
FNP has been tested in England since 2007. A formal evaluation of the programme and a large scale research trial is finding out whether it can be successfully delivered in this country. Early evidence is promising and the Government has committed to double the places offered to families by 2015 so that 13,000 families will benefit.
In South Birmingham a team began to recruit to the programme in 2009 and is taking part in the national ressearch trial. An additional site was funded in 2010 to cover the areas of Shard End and ,Kingstanding. From October 2011 the teams will expand further to offer a service across the whole of the city.