• By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Monday 31st January, 2011

Research backs work for new parents through Family Nurse Partnership

A boost to show how successfully the Nurse Family Partnership program is working in the UK has come with more impressive results about its effects. The new independent implementation study by Jacqueline Barnes and colleagues based in Birkbeck College, University of London, focuses on the first ten pilot sites of what in the UK is known as the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) program. It is broadly positive about fidelity of implementation and reports good potential for positive outcomes for families as well as indicating substantial cost savings. The program proved popular with both families and nurses and is also improving vulnerable parents’ take-up of other services that help improve their babies’ development.Barnes and her team find that FNP mothers are positive about their ability to bring up their child and report high levels of warm and positive parenting. These perceptions are backed up by evidence of increased confidence and higher aspirations for the mothers and their children. Despite starting from a low baseline, FNP children are developing in line with norms for children of their age.The team leading FNP implementation in the UK, led by Kate Billingham and based in the Department of Health, were at pains to point out that this implementation evaluation does not indicate success. Supported by David Olds, who originated the program in the USA, Billingham and her team have managed to establish over 55 FNP teams in England which have reached over 6,000 families since 2007.A separate outcome study, the largest experimental trial of David Olds' program to date, is being led by Michael Robling at the Cardiff University School of Medicine. It will report in 2013.Last year Andrew Lansley, UK Health Secretary, committed to doubling the number of disadvantaged families benefiting from FNP. By 2015 13,000 vulnerable (often teenage) mothers will be receiving the evidence- based program.Speaking in response to the new report, Lansley commented: “The early intervention that this programme provide, can help young parents look after their children better and break inter-generational patterns of disadvantage. It can also improve the health and wellbeing of the whole family, with reduced smoking during pregnancy and young mums coping better with pregnancy, labour and parenthood and gaining greater confidence and self esteem.”He added: “That is why I expect more areas to start delivering FNP, as well as expansion in those areas already providing the service”.The commitment to the program has come despite huge cuts to public sector services in the UK.ReferencesJacqueline Barnes, Mog Ball, Pam Meadows, Beth Howden, Angela Jackson, Juliet Henderson and Lisa Niven, The Family-Nurse Partnership Programme in England: Wave 1 implementation in toddlerhood & a comparison between Waves 1 and 2a of implementation in pregnancy and infancy, Department of Health, 2011Links:http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_123366.pdfhttp://familynurse.dh.gov.uk/http://medicine.cf.ac.uk/person/dr-michael-richard-robling/

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