Milton Keynes Family-Nurse Partnership: Wave 2A 'Collaborative Working with Children's Centres'; a service evaluation

Oates, John; Appleton, Jane; Ponsford, Ruth; Kynan, Sally and Huntington, Corinne (2010). Milton Keynes Family-Nurse Partnership: Wave 2A 'Collaborative Working with Children's Centres'; a service evaluation. The Open University and Oxford Brookes University, Milton Keynes.


This document reports a qualitative study of experiences with and attitudes towards the Family Nurse Partnership pilot programme in Milton Keynes, focusing on the ways in which the programme has been operating in conjunction with other services for parents with young children, especially young mothers, and the role of the programme in developing client autonomy. The study was carried out in 2010.

Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with the members of the Family Nurse team, with clients, with local Sure Start Children’s Centre Coordinators and with practitioners in other services associated with the work of the Centres and the FNP team.

In all, 37 people were interviewed, including the 7 FNP team members, 15 clients, 5 Children’s Centre coordinators and 10 practitioners in associated services.

Opinions about the conduct and efficacy of the FNP pilot scheme were consistently very favourable, with the members of the team, and the scheme materials and practices being held in high regard, both by clients and other services involved. The strengths-based approach was especially valued.

Some further development possibilities were identified, concerning the relatively low level of communication that was being achieved between the FNP and other services, and about the perceived inaccessibility to other practitioners of the specific programme-based activities used with FNP clients. These were widely seen as being of potentially great benefit to practitioners outside the scheme.

The necessity of understanding the complexity and depth of the needs of young parents also emerged as a core theme, linked with the need to tailor ways of working and offering services so as to avoid stigmatization and hence putting up barriers to client participation. Some concerns were expressed that the fact of being a teenage mother does not in itself always carry a high need association, especially where adequate family and community support is in place, and that needs may also be great in less-young parents where such support is lacking or other risk factors are present.

Clients were especially appreciative of the value to them of the close, sustained and supportive relationships that had been established with their Family Nurses. Availability, both practically and emotionally, also emerged as a key factor in client satisfaction and in the maintenance of clients in the programme.

Recommendations are made for development opportunities based on the findings of this study.

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