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Government's child health strategy to include family nurse and health visitor drive

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The government has announced an increase in the number of health visitors and an expansion of the Family Nurse Partnerships programme as part of its child health strategy.

Launching the delayed child health strategy, Healthy Lives, brighter future: the strategy for children and young people's health, the Department of Health in partnership with the Department of Children, Schools and Families also set aside an extra£340 million to support children with disabilities and their families.

The Family Nurse Partnerships programme will increase from the current 30 to 70 sites by 2011 in a bid to support first time mothers. The government hopes to roll it out across England over the next 10 years.

Health secretary Alan Johnson said: 'The Child Health Strategy will help ensure that healthcare and children's services work together to help every child to have a healthy and happy start in life.

'The expansion of the Family Nurse Partnership programme will help us reach the most disadvantaged families.'

The strategy also sets out an increase in health visitors which will see all Sure Start Children's Centre having a named health visitor-although the government has yet to put a figure on how many new health visitors will be employed overall.

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