Three times as many health visitors began training in 2011/12 compared to the previous year, DH figures have revealed.
Ministers say the upward trend means that 6,000 new health visitors should be trained in the next three years. The DH is committed to increasing the total number of health visitors by 4,200 by April 2015.
Meanwhile, 23 areas have been named in the second phase of 'early implementer' sites, charged with developing innovative health visiting practice.
The first phase, comprising 26 sites, was announced last year, and includes projects such as the 'breast start' app developed by the Wirral Community NHS Trust, which advises women on breastfeeding technique; and the 'Hello Baby' course by NHS Blackpool which helps mothers with young babies who have post natal depression.
Public health minister Anne Milton said: 'From their early beginnings in 1862, through to the present day, health visitors have worked to make sure that children have a positive start in life and families with new babies get the support they need. We want to take forward this legacy so families get the best service they can from their health visitors.
'I have seen first-hand how families benefit from the advice and support through this work and would like to express my thanks to all the health visitors and those who are making this happen. It's fantastic that more people will get the benefits from having a personalised health visiting service to meet their own specific needs.'