Parents who need more support to build a healthy relationship with their baby can now benefit from additional help from Nottinghamshire County Council.
The proposal, which was brought to the Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee on 20th September, is to add to the offer from the Healthy Families Programme, with almost £100,000 of additional Public Health funding.
If approved, one new specialist Health Visitor will be appointed to work with an existing Family Nurse for a pilot over 18 months. They’ll work with parents who’d benefit from additional support to strengthen the important early relationship between parents and their babies.
This will include support with managing how parents respond to their baby’s crying, offering appropriate comfort and care, and providing positive interactions to help their baby learn and develop.
Councillor Boyd Elliott, Chair of Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said: “The first two years of a child’s life is a critical period in their development, so this service will help equip parents with the knowledge and skills they need to read, recognise and respond to their baby’s signals.
“Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience and figures show that at least 15% of families need additional parent-infant relationship interventions. Health visitors in Healthy Family Teams will identify those families who are the most in need of support.”
Sherrel Dudley, General Manager for the 0 – 19 CYP Services at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a really exciting service being developed in the county for parents and carers in the coming months. We know the first two years from conception until the age of two is a crucial time in a child’s development. During this time, babies’ brains are shaped by the interactions they have with their parents and carers.
“Being a parent doesn’t always come naturally to everyone and it is common for parents and carers to feel overwhelmed, feel a dip in confidence and struggle with new responsibilities. Parents can also have challenging feelings and worries about many things. Our specialist practitioners will have the knowledge and expertise to offer parents experiencing those early difficulties additional support and interventions that cannot be met by the Healthy Family Teams or universal services alone.”
The Healthy Families Programme is an integrated service for children, young people and families which includes health visitors, school nurses, the Family Nurse Partnership Programme (for first time teenage mums) and the National Childhood Measurement Programme.