Child learning boost12th February 2009
Ministers have announced a raft of measures that will boost child health and learning.
The Child Health Strategy will also include an extra £340m to pay for respite and end of life care for families with disabled children.
Included within the package is a programme of intensive one-to-one work with new parents which will also be extended to tackle health inequalities.
A key part of the strategy is to endeavour to bolster partnership work between education and health services.
This will see 3,000 Sure Start centres get a named health visitor in a bid to bring NHS services more closely into what is a predominantly educational and welfare service.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "We welcome this strategy, although many parents will be asking why it has taken so long to make children's health a priority.
"We are also worried that the plans lack ambition. Instead of a bold set of announcements we have a collection of borrowed and watered-down plans which don't go far enough in giving children's health services the boost they need."
In addition, the Department of Health is also expected to announce an extension of the family nurse partnerships pilot, which involves having a specialist nurse meeting regularly with vulnerable new parents until the child is two.
There are currently 30 pilots in operation, but the number is set to be increased to 70 by 2011.
The strategy also sets out plans for the already-announced £40m pilot of free school meals for primary school children.
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Title: Child learning boost
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 10180
Date Added: 12th Feb 2009