Duchess of Cambridge launches new Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood


The Duchess of Cambridge has hosted an event to launch the new Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood and invited a graduate of Public Health England’s Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) programme.

The Duchess of Cambridge launched The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to help create a “happier, more mentally healthy and more nurturing society”. The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood will focus on three key areas: research; collaboration; and development.

Jumaima, a 23 year old mother with a three year old son, was invited to attend after meeting The Duchess two years ago, when she visited the FNP team in Southwark.

FNP is a home-visiting programme for young, first-time mums and families. Mothers-to-be under the age of 25 are partnered with a specially trained family nurse who meets them regularly, from early pregnancy until their child is aged between 1 and 2.

FNP has been the subject of 4 decades of international research. A recent study published by the National Institute of Health Research found that children whose parents took part in the FNP programme have improved early education attainment, including reading scores.

Jumaima began working with Cecilia, her family nurse from the FNP programme, when she became pregnant at age 19 with her son. At the time, Jumaima also needed help finding housing and she credits Cecilia with helping to make this journey less stressful by helping to signpost her to the right services.

Jumaima said of her time on the FNP programme:

I think the home visits definitely made a difference to how I parent, and also keeping that same family nurse was a great help because it helps with stability. It made me more comfortable to share and be more open, and you know you can work through questions with them.

On her meeting with the Duchess of Cambridge, Jumaima said they discussed how important parents’ wellbeing is in ensuring healthy childhood development.

We spoke about how much parents need help as well as kids, because you can only be a good parent if you’re working on yourself. We spoke about counselling for parents and we spoke about the tools that can be implemented into the system for parents.

The new Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood will aim to raise awareness on the importance of early childhood years, and drive action through research. They will work across the public, private and voluntary sectors to address pressing challenges to early childhood development.

Cecilia, Jumaima’s family nurse from the FNP programme, said:

Jumaima and I were delighted to be part of the Duchess’s launch of her new Centre for Early Childhood, which will support the value of working with families from the beginning to promote mental wellbeing and achieve healthier outcomes for children and our society. This is at the core of what we aim for in the Family Nurse Partnership.

Professor Viv Bennett CBE, Chief Nurse at PHE, said:

Supporting families through pregnancy and the early days with their baby is vital to giving every child the best start in life. It’s fantastic to see the Duchess of Cambridge’s commitment to this by opening her new Centre for Early Childhood.

Jumaima’s story is an excellent example of how programmes like the Family Nurse Partnership can support our young parents to help bond well with their babies and help them thrive and develop.

Source: Public Health England


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