What is FNP?

This voluntary programme offers 64 intensive and structured home visits, delivered by specially trained nurses, from early pregnancy through to the child’s 2nd birthday. Visits can take place in the home, but also in community settings such as a coffee shop, soft play centre, a walk to the park etc. – wherever is most comfortable for the mother.

The programme was developed in the United States 30 years ago and the first ten sites began testing FNP in the UK in 2007. Currently 70 sites in the UK are now delivering the FNP programme.

How does FNP work?

The programme uses in-depth methods to work with young parents on attachment, relationships and psychological preparation for parenthood.

Family nurses build supportive, therapeutic relationships with families and guide first time teenage parents so that they adopt healthier lifestyles for themselves and their babies; provide good care for their babies and plan their futures.

What evidence is there that FNP makes a difference?

  • Over 30 years of US research into FNP has shown significant benefits for vulnerable young families in the short, medium and long term across a wide range of outcomes including:
    • Improved early language development, school readiness and academic achievement
    • Improvements in antenatal health
    • Reductions in children’s injuries, neglect and abuse
    • Improved parenting practices and behaviour
    • Fewer subsequent pregnancies and greater intervals between births
    • Increased maternal employment and reduced welfare use
    • Increases in father’s involvement
  • In a review published in the Lancet, FNP (Macmillan 2009) was cited as one of only two programmes shown to prevent child maltreatment.

Do Family Nurses only deliver the FNP programme?

Family Nurses are actively involved in jointly delivering the Healthy Child Programme and FNP. The Family Nurse is responsible for ensuring the first child, and any subsequent children, receive the Healthy Child Programme, in place of the Health Visitor, until the first child reaches the age of two.

What happens when the child reaches the age of two?

  • From the outset the programme is working with parents to help them to be self-efficacious and not become dependent. The relationship the family nurse has with the parents and the materials support mums and dads to find their own solutions, to make the best use of services for children and themselves and to support them with the way they communicate with others. The majority of families will be making use of other services throughout the time they have FNP.
  • At the end of the programme when the baby reaches two the family and nurse will agree if and what services are required in the future and make appropriate introductions.
  • Those families who need continuing services will already be receiving them as part of the common assessment framework or safeguarding procedures.
  • All families will be transferred to the health visiting services so the remainder of the Health Child Programme can be completed.