BC recommits to Nurse-Family Partnership

April 14, 2017

BC has recently released a new Mental Health Strategy (2017–2020). This is a supplement to Healthy Minds, Healthy People, BC’s existing 10-Year Mental Health Plan (2010–2020) jointly sponsored by the BC Ministries of Health and Children and Family Development.

Of note, the new plan recommits to supporting Nurse-Family Partnership. This intensive public health nursing program supports young, first-time mothers and their children who are living on low-income. Starting prenatally then continuing over the first two years of the child’s life, the program aims to improve children’s mental health and development, while also improving the mother’s life circumstances.

Nurse-Family Partnership is currently undergoing a scientific evaluation known as the BC Healthy Connections Project. The Children’s Health Policy Centre at SFU is leading this randomized controlled trial with more than 700 families — with scientific collaborators at McMaster University, UBC and the University of Victoria. The Project is also being conducted in close collaboration with policy partners in the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, as well as in Fraser, Vancouver Coastal, Island and Interior Health Authorities.

In other news, the plan will also increase the number of community-based child and youth mental health clinicians across the province. It will add up to 120 net new positions to existing services over three years. This will increase access for up to 7,000 children and youth each year on top of the 27,000 who are currently being served.

The new staff will include specialized clinical practitioners, and community support and outreach workers. They will help Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and youth and their families address their mental-health challenges.

Anyone seeking a referral to Nurse-Family Partnership should contact their local Health Authority.

Anyone seeking more information on Child and Youth Mental Health services should contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development.