24 April 2017
The Chief Minister has approved the release of more than £400,000 from central contingencies to fund a project that helps to prepare people for becoming parents. The money will be provided from 2017-2019 to enable the States of Jersey and Family Nursing and Home Care to work in partnership with the NSPCC to deliver their award-winning Baby Steps programme to all expectant parents in Jersey.
The Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore, says “This is a key component of the 1001 Critical Days manifesto as it will enable all parents to access antenatal classes that address the physical and emotional aspects of parenthood, as well as the baby’s well-being and overall development.
“Pregnancy and the first few months of a baby's life are an extremely important time for families. Research suggests that the parent-child relationship and the capacity to provide love, care and nurture are of major importance to the child's development and wellbeing. Universal ante-natal provision is recognised as a key factor in building resilience in families.”
Baby Steps supports future parents to
- know how to care for their new baby
- reduce the stress that often occurs with parents of a newborn
- improve the lives of their babies
A woman whose partner remains involved during pregnancy is more likely to attend antenatal care, take better care of her health and deliver a healthy baby. The speed at which a woman recovers from postnatal depression is also linked to the quality of her relationship with her partner.
Baby Steps is designed to help parents to grow in confidence and ability and in this way to help improve the parent-child relationship and decrease parental anxiety and depression.
It was developed in partnership with Warwick University and has been monitored and evaluated throughout its implementation. Baby Steps is already being run on a small scale by the NSPCC in Jersey and data shows better birth outcomes for those who have attended. It is a relationship based course that supports the 1001 Critical Days’ programme.
This funding is part of £1.65 million per year allocated in the Medium Term Financial Plan for initiatives that support vulnerable children. In November last year the Council of Ministers agreed that nine projects should be allocated up to £2.2 million of this funding from 2017-2019.