Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is for parents aged 24 and under. Young mothers-to-be are partnered with a specially trained family nurse who visits them regularly, from early pregnancy until their child is aged between one and two.
By focusing on their strengths, FNP enables young parents to:
Develop good relationships with and understand the child's needs
Make choices that will give their child the best possible start in life
Mirror the positive relationship they have with their family nurse with others.
FNP is structured and personalised to respond to the specific strengths and needs of each client. The development of an ongoing relationship, supported by skilled assessment, enables the nurse and young parent to identify how the programme can best be shaped to meet their needs. This collaborative approach, alongside proficient use of programme approaches, tools and materials, demand a high level of skill from nurses.
Family nurses receive training and engage in ongoing learning provided by the FNP National Unit, along with regular supervision within their local teams.
Intensive early support from family nurses in pregnancy and early parenthood helps vulnerable families to engage and benefit from universal services in the long term. Evidence shows that FNP children are more likely to be ready to learn at school aged 5, for example, compared to the children of young parents who were not enrolled in FNP.
FNP is underpinned by three theories:
- Human ecology theory – emphasising the impact of social context and environment on human development
- Attachment theory – emphasising the importance of the security and safety that comes from a relationship with a primary caregiver to a child’s healthy emotional development
- Self-efficacy theory - nurses use this concept to guide their efforts in supporting positive change, enabling clients to understand why particular actions are important and to develop the confidence necessary to achieve these.
Family nurses also use specific approaches derived from the world of motivational interviewing, focusing on enhancing a young parent’s motivation to change. Family nurses listen, guide and advise using these skills to support parents in making positive changes for themselves and their baby.
FNP is a licensed programme
The programme was originally developed by Professor David Olds and is delivered in England under licence from the University of Colorado Denver. The licence is held in England by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and licence requirements are delivered by the FNP National Unit at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, part of the Department of Health and Social Care.