Health visitors have a unique role in working with children and families to promote health and prevent illness. Pregnancy, birth and the first 24 months can be a difficult time for parents, but at the same time this period is a critical ‘window of opportunity’ to influence and effect positive changes.1
The Healthy Child Programme, which lies at the heart of universal services for children and young people, was reviewed by Public Health England in 2015.
It includes five child health and development reviews mandated by the commissioning of services for 0-5-year- olds by local authorities:
- Antenatal health promoting visit.
- New baby review.
- 6-8 week assessment.
- 1 year assessment.
- 2-2 year review.
Through these reviews, health visitors can support parents in the transition to parenthood, promote child development, improve child health outcomes and ensure that families at risk are identified at the earliest opportunity.2 These mandated contacts also enable health visitors to promote health and development in the ‘Six high impact areas’ for the early years:3