In the UK
In an Early Intervention Foundation review of 75 programmes which aim to support parent and child interaction in the early years, the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) was one of just two programmes to achieve the highest possible 4+ rating for evidence.
“FNP has established evidence (Level 4+) of improving a variety of child and parent outcomes, including attachment security in the short term, children’s early language development and reduced risk of preventable death in early adulthood.”
FNP has also been rated as having the highest level of effectiveness by the National Academy of Parenting Research at King’s College.
In the US
Nurse-Family Partnership, the US equivalent of FNP, has undergone three large-scale randomised control trials (RCTs). This research has shown the programme to:
- Improve pregnancy health and behaviours
- Reduce child abuse and neglect
- Improve school readiness
- Increase maternal employment and economic self sufficiency
- Reduce closely spaced subsequent pregnancies.
US research has also shown significant returns on investment to Government and to wider society.
Randomised Control Trial - Building Blocks
Findings from Building Blocks, an RCT commissioned by the Department of Health, undertaken by Cardiff University, and published in 2016, increased understanding of the programme’s effect in a UK context.
Building Blocks showed that FNP has positive effects on early child development - crucial in determining a person's future life chances – and helps to identify safeguarding risks at an earlier stage, preventing children from suffering harm and saving local authorities money. The trial also found that clients - often highly vulnerable and hard-to-reach young people - engaged well with FNP and especially valued the close, trusting relationship they had with their family nurse.
However, Building Blocks showed that FNP had no effect on the main short-term outcomes being measured - reduction in smoking rates in clients on the programme, low birth weight in their babies, how likely they were to become pregnant again and the number of times they attended A&E with their babies.
Learning from this, since the results of the trial, we have rolled out a series of improvements to increase the overall quality and efficiency of FNP and helping sites to better meet local priorities. We have also embarked on Next Steps, an innovation programme designed to improve outcomes for clients, make FNP more flexible, personalised and cost-effective, and support the exchange of knowledge and skills between services.