More than 50 PCTs and local authorities bid for a share of the £30 million in funding announced last November to support expansion of the scheme beyond the current ten pilot sites, ministers said.
The scheme, which involves health visitors or nurses visiting disadvantaged young parents from early pregnancy until their child is two years old, is being rolled out as part of the government's Child Health Promotion Programme.
Health minister Ann Keen said: ‘The Child Health Promotion Programme should be a universal service for all children and families and must be taken seriously. Commissioners need to recognise that this can be an important tool for meting their obligations on breastfeeding, obesity prevention, infant mortality and the 12-week antenatal assessment.'
The 20 new sites are Sunderland, Cumbria, Liverpool, Blackpool, Leeds, Hull, Nottingham, Calderdale, Stockport, South Birmingham, Coventry, North East Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Islington, Lambeth, Hastings and Rother, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Southampton.