Families ‘At Risk’ and the Family Nurse Partnership: The Intrusion of Risk into Social Exclusion Policy
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 July 2009
This article considers why the family nurse partnership (FNP) has been promoted as a means of tackling social exclusion in the UK. The FNP consists in a programme of visits by nurses to low-income first-time mothers, both while the mothers are pregnant and for the first two years following birth. The FNP is focused on both teaching parenthood and encouraging mothers back into education and/or into employment. Although the FNP marks a considerable discontinuity with previous approaches to family health, it is congruent with an emerging new approach to social exclusion. This new approach maintains that the most important task of social policy is to identify quickly the most ‘at-risk’ households, individuals and children so that interventions can be targeted more effectively at those ‘at risk’, either to themselves or to others. The article illustrates this new approach by analysing a succession of reports by the Social Exclusion Unit. It indicates that there is a considerable amount of ambiguity about the relationship between specific risk-factors and being ‘at risk of social exclusion’. Nonetheless, this new approach helps to explain why British policy-makers may have chosen to promote the new FNP now.
- Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009