Minding the Baby is a model used by the NSPCC to protect children aged under one year.
It is a home visiting programme to help high-risk, first time mothers develop positive relationships with their baby.
Minding the Baby is an early intervention programme designed to enhance the mother’s relationship with her child.
Minding the Baby involves an interdisciplinary, intensive, home visiting programme working with high-risk first time mothers and their families that lasts until the child’s second birthday.
Maternal trauma, mental health problems and social disadvantage can disrupt parent-child relationships. Disrupted parent-child relationships can result in attachment difficulties, behavioural, language and learning difficulties as well as destructive family and social relationships, including domestic abuse and child abuse (Howe, 1999).
The Minding the Baby programme, developed by Yale University, provides intensive support to young, poor, first-time mothers to enable them to care appropriately for their baby.
It is based in attachment theory and places particular emphasis on improving maternal reflective capacities (a mother's ability to understand child development).
The programme involves alternating home visits between a nurse and a social worker. Visits begin weekly from the mother’s final trimester until the child’s first birthday. Visits continue throughout the child’s second year on a fortnightly basis.
The nurse provides ongoing help in relation to health and care-giving, whilst the social worker provides infant and parent mental health services and social services support.
Both the nurse and social worker provide developmental guidance, crisis intervention, parenting support and practical support.
These home visits aim to keep the mother aware of her baby's physical and mental states and to enhance her reflective functioning by continuously voicing the baby's emotions and intentions.
Minding the Baby is currently available in: Glasgow, Sheffield and York.
The service works with vulnerable first time mothers aged 14-25 years who are at least one of the following:
Call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 for the details of your nearest NSPCC service centre.
The NSPCC, in partnership with health services, is delivering this programme to first-time mothers aged under 25 who have additional or complex needs (for example, homelessness, poverty or depression).
In order to understand the impact of this service on improving outcomes for children, we will be undertaking rigorous monitoring and evaluation and sharing the findings of this.
We are particularly interested in learning about:
News on children aged under one
Keep up to date with the most recent developments on working with children aged under one with CASPAR, the current awareness service for child protection policy, practice and research.
Practice resources and research on children under one
Publications to help professionals working with children aged under one and their parents.
Children under one homepage
See all of our resources for professionals on working to prevent the abuse and neglect of children aged under one.
Specialist mental health midwives: what they do and why they matter (PDF, 173KB)
NSPCC, Royal College of Midwives and Maternal Mental Health Alliance report explaining the role of specialist mental health midwives.