FIRST-time teenage parents across Thurrock can now benefit from support, advice and home visits to help them to ensure their babies get the best start in life.
The Family Nurse Partnership, a programme to provide on-going, intensive support to new teenage mothers and their children, which has been available in south east Essex for seven years launches this week across the whole of the county.
Director of Children’s Services at the South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT), Theresa Smith said: “We have been successfully delivering the Family Nurse Partnership in south east Essex for seven years.
“The rollout of the programme across the whole of the county will enable us to support many more young parents and their babies.”
Cllr Bukky Okunade, portfolio holder for Children’s Social Care, said: “I am delighted that young parents in Thurrock will have the support of the partnership. It is a highly successful programme and it’s great that our young people will get this vital support as they become new parents.”
And Cllr Barbara Rice, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health added: “This is an excellent service that can only benefit teenage parents and their babies.”
Ms Smith said: “The programme has been running in the United States for over 30 years and will be a great service offered to those young people who are most vulnerable and in need of support during their pregnancy.
“We will work alongside the midwife and the GP to ensure they receive the best possible care in their homes.”
The aim of the programme is to help equip young mothers and fathers with the knowledge, confidence and skills to ensure that their babies get the best start in life, and to help the young parents with life beyond pregnancy.
Pregnant teens will receive weekly to fortnightly home visits by highly trained nurses, starting in the early stages of pregnancy and continuing until the child’s second birthday.
Nurses will support the expectant teenage mothers to develop her maternal skills during the pregnancy, developing the teens’ parenting knowledge and skills to help improve their child’s health and development, and improve the young parents’ economic self-sufficiency, by helping them to achieve their aspirations, such as employment or returning to education.
Not only has the programme plenty of health benefits for both babies and young parents, it will also help tackle social mobility as the young mothers and fathers receive guidance on how they can return to education and get back on the career ladder after becoming a parent.