Making every contact count

By cypscAdmin, Friday, 24th June 2016 | 0 comments
Filed under: Health, Parenting Support, Family Support.

The Nurture Programme – Infant Health and Wellbeing is a recently launched programme of work designed to improve the information and professional supports that the Health Service Executive (HSE) and its related agencies provide to parents during pregnancy and during the first three years of their baby’s life.  

It is a partnership between the Health Service Executive, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Katharine Howard Foundation and the Centre for Effective Services (CES).

At the Nurture Programme launch in May 2016:



Left to right: Anne Pardy, HSE National Lead; Francis Chance, Programme Manager, Katharine Howard Foundation; Dr Noelle Spring, Director, Katharine Howard Foundation; Jane Forman, Programme Executive, Atlantic Philanthropies; Dr Stephanie O’Keeffe, National Director of Health and Wellbeing, HSE; Dr Phil Jennings, HSE Lead for the Healthy Childhood Programme; Professor Jane Barlow, University of Warwick (guest speaker) and John Hennessy, National Director of Primary Care, HSE. (Photo: Nick Bradshaw)

About 70,000 babies are born in Ireland every year – that’s a baby every 7½ minutes. All parents want what is best for their child. The Nurture Programme has been established with these babies and their parents at its heart.  The aim of the Programme is to support parents and healthcare professionals in their respective roles of parenting and service provision.  From pregnancy through to the child’s third birthday, parents will meet a healthcare professional at least 25 times.  The Nurture Programme will focus on the relationship between healthcare professionals and parents, seeking to make every contact count.

Parental engagement is a key element of the Nurture Programme strategy, ensuring that services are built around parent’s needs and are responsive to their feedback.

The Programme will build on the best practice already in place in the HSE; seeking to ensure that this practice is delivered consistently across all our services.  It will take an evidence-based approach to develop and improve services on an ongoing basis, drawing on the learning from a range of initiatives including the work of Children and Young People’s Services Committees, the ABC Programme and its predecessors, the Parents Support Initiative and many other innovative projects as well as international best practice.  The Centre for Effective Services is providing implementation support to the Programme, drawing on the developing field of Implementation Science.

The Nurture Programme will work on the development of a new parenting and child health website for parents and for healthcare staff.  This will be the trusted source for all health and wellbeing information that parents and health care professionals need.  There will be a provision of information and advice to people planning to get pregnant so that they can give their child the best start in life.  Information and supports during pregnancy will be strengthened and standardised.  Universal access will be provided to the Child Safety Awareness Programme to guard against accidental deaths and unintentional injuries to babies and infants.  Infant Mental Health will be promoted, covering topics like bonding with your baby, parent-child communications and supporting your baby’s early learning and development.  Breastfeeding will be encouraged and supported.

A priority is to ensure that developments initiated under the Nurture Programme become mainstreamed in a sustainable way within the HSE and its related agencies.

The Nurture Programme Implementation Teams will be delighted to hear about relevant initiatives taking place within the CYPSC.  You can email us at  Further information on the Nurture Programme including the presentations from the recent launch, the Nurture Programme booklet and soon to include the Nurture Programme video are available at


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