Family Nurse Partnerships could be scrapped next April after the Department of Health confirmed their funding would fall under the government spending review.
The scheme, which sees vulnerable, first-time mothers given intensive support from pregnancy until the child is two, are only funded until the end of this financial year.
A DH spokeswoman said: “Decisions about any further development in Family Nurse Partnerships will be made alongside other policy priorities in the context of the spending review.
“By April 2011 we expect 7,000 families to have benefitted from the Family Nurse Partnership.”
The schemes operate in 56 different areas and were first piloted in 2007.
An FNP team in Derby employs six nurses with three support staff. The team has applied to become a social enterprise.
In December last year then health minister Ann Keen wrote to primary care trust board chairs praising the programme and urging them to recommend it to their chief executives.
The coalition government has promised a white paper on public health in the Autumn and said it aims to recruit 4,200 health visitors but it is not clear where these will be based.