First-time young mums in the London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley are to benefit from the launch of a nurse-led home visiting service.
The Family Nurse Partnership scheme for first-time mothers aged under 20 is being jointly commissioned by the area’s two local authorities.
It is free for participating families who get regular visits from the same nurse from early pregnancy until their child is aged two.
“This programme can provide young mothers with the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life”
The approach, which was originally developed and tested in the US, has been heavily backed by the government and is now well established in many parts of the UK after first being introduced on a pilot basis in 2007.
US research has shown it can boost mothers’ antenatal health, reduce injuries among children and instances of abuse or neglect, and improve parenting.
As well as boosting the chance of a healthy pregnancy and improving child health and development, the scheme also aims to help parents achieve ambitions like returning to education and finding a job
Miranda Hamill, chair of maternity services liaison for Bexley, described the scheme as “a unique mentoring service with traditional values” that was delivered in a modern way.
“Through weekly or fortnightly visits from the same nurse right through from early pregnancy until their child is two, this programme can provide young mothers with the support they need to give their children the best possible start in life,” added Felicity Akers, who leads the scheme at provider Bromley Healthcare.
Expectant mothers can be referred to the service by their midwife, GP, health visitor or social worker or can refer themselves.