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Open Access Study protocol

The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Family Nurse Partnership home visiting programme for first time teenage mothers in England: a protocol for the Building Blocks randomised controlled trial

Eleri Owen-Jones1*, Marie-Jet Bekkers1, Chris C Butler2, Rebecca Cannings-John1, Sue Channon2, Kerenza Hood1, John W Gregory3, Alison Kemp2, Joyce Kenkre4, Belen Corbacho Martin5, Alan Montgomery6, Gwenllian Moody1, Kate E Pickett5, Gerry Richardson7, Zoë Roberts2, Sarah Ronaldson4, Julia Sanders1, Eugena Stamuli5, David Torgerson5 and Michael Robling1

Author Affiliations

1 South East Wales Trials Unit (SEWTU), School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Neuadd Meirionnydd 7th Floor, Heath Park, Cardiff, Wales CF14 4YS, UK

2 Cochrane Institute of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, Wales CF14 4YS, UK

3 Institute of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, Wales CF14 4XW, UK

4 University of South Wales, Pontypridd, Wales CF37 1DL, UK

5 Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Seebohm Rowntree Building, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK

6 Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit, Nottingham Health Science Partners, C Floor, South Block, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK

7 Centre for Health Economics, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:114  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-114

Published: 6 August 2013



The Nurse Family Partnership programme was developed in the USA where it is made available to pregnant young mothers in some socially deprived geographic areas. The related Family Nurse Partnership programme was introduced in England by the Department of Health in 2006 with the aim of improving outcomes for the health, wellbeing and social circumstances of young first-time mothers and their children.

Methods / design

This multi-centre individually randomised controlled trial will recruit 1600 participants from 18 Primary Care Trusts in England, United Kingdom. The trial will evaluate the effectiveness of Family Nurse Partnership programme and usual care versus usual care for nulliparous pregnant women aged 19 or under, recruited by 24 weeks gestation and followed until the child’s second birthday. Data will be collected from participants at baseline, 34-36 weeks gestation, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months following birth. Routine clinical data will be collected from maternity, primary care and hospital episodes statistics. Four primary outcomes are to be reported from the trial: birth weight; prenatal tobacco use; child emergency attendances and/or admissions within two years of birth; second pregnancy within two years of first birth.


This trial will evaluate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the Family Nurse Partnership in England. The findings will provide evidence on pregnancy and early childhood programme outcomes for policy makers, health professionals and potential recipients in three domains (pregnancy and birth, child health and development, and parental life course and self-sufficiency) up to the child’s second birthday.

Trial registration

Trial registration number: ISRCTN 23019866

Pregnancy in adolescence; Prenatal care; Maternal health; Home visiting; Birth weight; Smoking cessation; Child maltreatment; Family nurse partnership; Early years prevention; Randomised controlled trial