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Family nurse programme continues to grow

The number of nurses working on a programme designed to improve the life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in society has increased by 50% in the last 18 months, data from the Department of Health reveals.

In 2010 the government committed to increasing the number of places on the Family Nurse Partnership programme from 6,000 to 13,000 by 2015.

New figures reveal there are now 9,000 places on the scheme, equivalent to at least 360 family nurses operating in 80 local authority areas.

A spokesman for the DH said the figures confirmed they were “well on track” to meet the target.

The programme is operated under a franchise arrangement, which means nurses are not permitted to have caseloads of more than 25.

Family nurses work with vulnerable young first time mothers through pregnancy until the child is two. They are often health visitors who have undergone extra training.

The concept was imported from America, where it has been found to improve language development, reduce neglect and reduce arrests of both children and mothers.

Earlier this month, the DH published a map shoeing the current locations of FNP programme sites across England.

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