Family Nurse Partnership

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a licensed programme, originally developed in the USA, in which specially trained nurses work with first-time teenage mothers to develop their parenting capacity and support them to make positive choices for themselves and their children.

We are looking to further adapt the FNP for use in Scotland through consulting with key stakeholders, including FNP sponsors, supervisors, academics and other experts.

Implementing FNP in Scotland

We aim to develop and test an FNP model that will retain the many strengths of FNP but also:

  • align the programme better to focus on outcomes of the greatest importance to Scotland
  • be personalised to the strengths and risks of individual clients, and better integrated with local services
  • be open to eligible 20 to 24-year-olds as well as teenagers

The FNP programme is currently being delivered in 10 NHS Board areas:

  • Lothian
  • Tayside
  • Fife
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Ayrshire and Arran
  • Forth Valley
  • Highland
  • Lanarkshire
  • Borders
  • Grampian

We are currently expanding the FNP programme to enable it to be offered to every eligible teenage mother by the end of 2018.

How FNP works

Negative experiences and poor parenting during pregnancy and early childhood can damage a child's brain development, behaviour, learning, and long-term health.

The FNP aims to prevent such damage by having a specially trained nurse visit the homes of first-time teenage mothers from early pregnancy (before 28 weeks) until their child is two years old.

During these visits, the nurse builds a relationship with the mother and uses materials and activities designed to change health behaviour, tackle emotional problems, improve care-giving, and increase economic self-sufficiency.

Midwives continue to deliver maternity care during the antenatal period. Once the child is born, the family nurse continues to visit the family until either the child reaches age two, or the family leaves the programme, at which point they become supported by the local health visiting service.

The family nurse also takes on the named person role, as agreed by their organisation.

The FNP's three main aims are to improve:

  • pregnancy and birth outcomes
  • child health and development
  • parents' economic self-sufficiency

The methods used are based on theories of human ecology, self-efficacy and attachment, with a focus on building a strong relationship between the family nurse and the client.

View a video explaining the FNP programme.

View 'Becoming the Mum I Want to Be', a video produced by NHS Scotland about one woman's experience with the FNP.

Background on FNP

FNP was developed at the University of Colorado, USA, where it is known as the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). Over 35 years of research, the programme has been shown to produce many benefits including:

  • improved early language development and academic achievement
  • improvements in antenatal health
  • reductions in children's injuries, neglect and abuse
  • improved parenting practices and behaviour
  • fewer subsequent pregnancies and greater intervals between births
  • increased maternal employment and reduced welfare use
  • increased involvement from fathers
  • reduced arrests and criminal behaviour for both children and mothers

An international review by The Lancet in 2008 named the NFP/FNP as one of only two programmes shown to prevent child maltreatment. Read the review: Interventions to prevent child maltreatment and associated impairment.

Since 2010, more than 1,500 families have graduated from the FNP programme in Scotland with almost 2,600 families receiving the programme at any one time.

Every year we publish national statistics on key process and outcome measures associated with the programme, in line with the licensing conditions.