FNP can change the life chances of children of young parents, whose outcomes usually fall far behind those of the general population.
Teenage mothers have high rates of poor mental health for up to three years after the birth . Their children are at 63% higher risk of living in poverty . At age 5, children of teenage mothers are more likely to be behind on a range of developmental outcomes, including as much as 11 months behind on verbal ability .
FNP provides intensive support and can reduce inequalities by enabling young parents to help their child succeed, despite the adverse circumstances they live with.
How the programme works
Young parents are paired with a specially trained family nurse who visits them regularly, from the early stages of pregnancy until their child is between one and two. Through a psycho-educational approach and a focus on positive behaviour change, FNP enables young parents to:
Build positive relationships with their baby and understand their baby’s needs
Make positive lifestyle choices that will give their child the best possible start in life
Build their self-efficacy
Build positive relationships with others, modelled by building a positive relationship with the family nurse.
The clinical approach underpinning FNP is strengths-based. Nurses work alongside clients providing information and guidance about specific domains relating to their pregnancy and parenthood:
- Life skills
- Your health and wellbeing
- Looking after your baby
- Your baby's development
- Safety and stability
- Connecting with your baby
- Family and support network
- Goals and aspirations
In this way, family nurses enable young parents to identify and make positive decisions about their lives and the life of their baby
For many clients, a therapeutic relationship with a family nurse brings consistency and offers them a positive role model which they may not have experienced before. Family nurses encourage young parents to engage with other appropriate services. In cases where additional safeguarding support is necessary, family nurses can ensure that young families access children’s social care quickly and effectively, while continuing to provide the FNP programme through home visits.
All family nurses receive supervision from their family nurse supervisor. Regular supervision sessions provide time to reflect and analyse the work with clients and to make robust plans to ensure that the needs of the baby remain paramount. Supervision also supports family nurses to consider how their feelings might influence decision-making around clients, helping to avoid ‘early evidence bias’.