Family nurses help boost mothers' self-esteem

Katy Morton
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) has the potential to benefit children's health and well-being, according to the latest independent study into the toddler phase of the programme.

The phase 3 evaluation report, published last week, focuses on the toddler phase of the programme when children are 12-24 months old, and builds on two earlier reports which found the FNP positively impacted on breastfeeding and reduced smoking in pregnancy. It also suggests that the FNP can be successfully delivered across England with good potential for positive outcomes for families as well as making substantial savings.

Findings were based on the outcomes of the young parents involved in the ten pilot sites, obtained through paperwork completed by family nurses and interviews with parents.

The report found that:

  • mothers were more positive about their parenting skills
  • mothers' self-esteem improved significantly, increasing their confidence and aspirations for themselves and their children
  • children develop in line with age group norms

The report also found that, overall, parents who completed the FNP were more likely to have visited a children’s centre, started paid employment or achieved more qualifications. Their children also had fewer emotional or behavioural problems associated with parental stress.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said, ‘These new findings show the potential for Family Nurse Partnerships to improve the life chances of our most disadvantaged families. Every child deserves the best start in life. Pregnancy and the first years of life have a long lasting impact on a child’s future health, relationships and happiness.’

‘That’s why I announced in October that we would double the number of places for families to benefit from the programme by 2015. I expect more areas to start delivering Family Nurse Partnerships, as well as expansion in those areas already providing the service.’

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