ANEW service has been launched in Salford to provide emotional and practical support for young mums.
The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP), run by Salford Royal and Salford city council, is an intensive two-year parenting programme for first-time mums under the age of 19.
Following notification from a midwife or GP, young mums join the programme voluntarily and ideally around 16 weeks into their pregnancy. As part of the programme, they receive regular, structured visits from a specially-trained family nurse who uses materials and activities to guide the young mums to have a healthy pregnancy and do the best for their child.
In 2013, 163 babies were born to teenage mums in Salford. Benefits of the programme include improvements in antenatal health, fewer subsequent pregnancies and increased maternal employment.
The family is visited regularly by a dedicated nurse until the child is two years old, at which point the family graduates from the service and is integrated back to the local health visiting team for any further support.
Sam McVeigh, family nurse partnership supervisor, said: “We aim to engage with the young mums early in their pregnancy because we want the best for the baby and the mother.
“We want to help them see where they want to go in life and to feel good about themselves; we aim to guide them through the pregnancy rather than tell them what they should be doing.”
A three-year evaluation across the first 10 FNP pilot sites in England showed that 82 per cent of those offered the programme actually enrolled onto it, clients were more confident as parents and there was a reduction in the number of mothers smoking during pregnancy.
The Salford FNP team can support up to 100 families on the programme at any one time.
● The Family Nurse Partnership team, Laura Lundy, Sam McVeigh, Tammy Gorzella, Hilary Macleod, Laura McNicoll, Debbie Willington