Origins

The Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) is based on the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) model of home visiting developed by Professor David Olds in the USA over the last 30 years.

The Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) model is an evidence-based community health program that helps transform the lives of vulnerable mothers pregnant with their first child. The NFP is one of a small number of social programs that has been assessed by the United States Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy as meeting ‘top tier’ evidence standard of effectiveness and it is the only program rated as ‘top tier’ in the early childhood category.

The model involves Registered Nurses visiting first-time low-income mothers during pregnancy and for the first two years of the child’s life. As part of the program, each mother is partnered with a registered nurse during the early stages of her pregnancy and receives ongoing nurse home visits that continue through to her child’s second birthday. Informed by rigorous research, the program has developed over more than three decades.

The NFP model draws from three distinct behavioral theories: human ecology, self-efficacy and attachment. When applied to the program’s professional nursing framework, these theories produce a unique program of great depth, breadth and vitality.

  • Human ecology theory: Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) theory of human ecology emphasises that a child’s development is influenced by the way they are cared for by their parents. Parental practices are, in turn, shaped by interactions with family, social networks, neighbourhoods, communities and cultures. The ANFPP draws on this perspective in seeking to enhance the material and social supports available to the mother, involving positive support networks from family members and linking the family to needed health and human services.
  • Self-efficacy theory: Bandura’s (1977; 1997) theory suggests that an individual’s efficacy expectations are influenced by whether they believe their behaviour will produce a desired outcome and if they believe they can successfully carry out that behaviour to achieve the outcome.  The ANFPP helps parents to establish realistic goals (focus on strengths) and emphasises methods of self-efficacy that are based on the client practicing the desired behaviour (focus on solutions).
  • Attachment theory: Bowlby’s (1969) attachment theory, addresses how infant behaviours such as crying, clinging, smiling and signaling, encourage infant-caregiver interactions. The ANFPP model promotes nurturing parenting through a variety of direct teaching methods and via the supportive and caring relationships Nurse Home Visitors establish with parents.