Children and Families

Children and Families

Public Health Dorset wants to make sure our younger residents have the services and resources they need to have the best start in life.

This page contains information to some of the free services that young people can access which will help them maintain a healthy life.

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Early Years

The first years of your child’s life are an important time for you, your baby and your family. The websites and resources below offer helpful information and support:

National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)

The National Childhood Measurement Programme (NCMP) is a mandatory service which is locally delivered by our commissioned provider of the Public Health Nursing Service, Dorset HealthCare. The NCMP supports the national scheme to tackle childhood obesity under the child excess weight indicators in the Public Health Outcomes Framework and is part of the government’s approach to tackling child obesity.

Children in Reception (aged 4 to 5) and Year 6 (aged 10 to 11) will have their height and weight measurements taken in school during the school year by a member of the Public Health School Nursing team.  Measurements are not shared with the pupils themselves, other pupils or school staff.

Within six weeks of the measurements being taken, parents of those children that may require further support will be contacted about the results by letter.  This is followed up with a telephone call from a member of the Public Health School Nursing team to offer support to the family to maintain a healthy lifestyle through signposting, advice and talking over family lifestyle choices.

All measurement data for Dorset is uploaded to the national data collection tool where the Government will use anonymised data to inform national and local healthy weight services for children.

Chat Health

Chat Health is the free school nursing text service available to all young people aged 11-19.

Young people can use this service to text a school nurse about a number of health topics such as:

  • Relationships
  • Smoking
  • Healthy eating
  • Mental health such as depression, anxiety or stress
  • Drugs and alcohol

All messages sent are confidential. But the school nursing team may contact someone if they have a concern about a child’s safety. They will always speak to the young person who sent the message first before any action is take.

Chat Health is available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm, including the school holidays but not bank holidays. If a young person texts outside these times they will get an automated message about where to go for help.

To use this service text 07480 635511.

For more information visit the Dorset HealthCare website.

Healthier Together

If you’re a parent or carer and would like to know more about parenting tips, information about long term illnesses or where to go if you feel your child is having problems with their emotions, visit Wessex Healthier Together.

Healthier Together looks to improve the health of children and young people in Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

The website also offers lots of health information for young people to find. They can find out about staying healthy, mental health, sexual health and topics about growing up such as bullying and drugs and alcohol.

Young people can also find advice on living with long term health conditions, getting help with emergency contraception and what to do if they are feeling unwell.

The website is also available as an app. You can down the app from Google Play or App Store and look at all the information at a time and place that suits you.

Visit the Healthier Together website. 


If you are a parent of a young person aged 11 – 18 who may need to talk to someone about their emotional health and wellbeing, let them know about Kooth.

Kooth is a free, online tool that is accessible from any mobile advice.

Young people wanting to use Kooth can speak to trained counsellors anonymously about their thoughts and feelings. Once a young person has signed up to use the service, they will have access to a whole range of resources such as unlimited free counselling sessions with trained professionals, moderated forums, self-help materials and a mood journal where they can record their thoughts and feelings. Young people are encouraged to identify their own goals and monitor progress with their counsellor, charting movement as progress is achieved.

For more information visit

To access the service visit the Kooth website.