£11 million for parenting programme

A pioneering programme helping young parents give their children a healthier start in life is to be rolled out across Scotland.

The Family Nurse Partnership, which supports first-time parents aged 19 and under, will be up and running around the country by 2015 thanks to a £11 million investment over the next two years.

The programme is already operating in Lothian, Tayside, Fife and Glasgow, and is expanding to Ayrshire & Arran, Lanarkshire and Highland in 2013.

Family nurses visit expectant mums every one or two weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of their baby’s life. They offer guidance and help mothers to make positive choices on areas such as child development, preventative health measures, parenting skills, breastfeeding, diet and nutrition information and on education and employment.

Making the announcement, First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“I am delighted to announce this £11 million investment to make this groundbreaking programme available right across Scotland – giving our most vulnerable children the best start in life.

“Providing specialised services early in a child’s life is key to improving Scotland’s health. This programme is a fantastic example of how we are supporting parents to give their children healthier futures.

“The established Family Nurse Partnerships have already made a valuable difference to the lives of 450 young families since 2010, and the benefits of the family nurses are clear to anyone who has had the privilege of meeting them and the families they support.

“On Monday I met Family Nurse Caroline MacKenzie in Edinburgh who told me about the extensive work these nurses do to support improvement in the health of both the mother and the child – helping to increase maternal employment and helping children’s readiness for school and future academic achievement.

“We want Scotland to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up. That’s why I am so pleased that at least 2,000 young families are going to benefit from the roll out of this programme.”

The £11 million will be invested over two years, with £5 million provided in 2013 and £6 million in 2014.

Evaluation of the Family Nurse Partnership Programme in NHS Lothian is available at: