The money is part of the lottery’s A Better Start initiative and will be used by the 15 areas to devise long-term plans for supporting parents with children from pregnancy to three years old.
The plans will spell out ways in which local services could provide support that enhances the physical, emotional and psychological development of children.
Next year three to five of the 15 areas will share funding worth £165m over 10 years to put their plans into action.
Nat Sloane, chair of the Big Lottery Fund England, said: “Costly health and social problems can be traced back to some children not having a good start in life.
“A Better Start will aim to stop harm to a child before it happens by providing the right support in those crucial years between birth and the age of three.”
The 15 areas receiving a share of the £5m are: Blackpool; Bradford; Greater Manchester; Haringey; Lambeth; Leicester; Lewisham; Luton; Medway; Middlesbrough; Newcastle; Northumberland; Nottingham; Sheffield; and Southend-on-Sea.
Charities are leading the work in each area but other agencies, including councils and NHS services, will also be involved in developing the plans.
Barnardo’s will lead the work in Haringey, Leicester, Middlesbrough and Northumberland.
The Children’s Society will lead in Greater Manchester and Lewisham while the Pre-school Learning Alliance will head up the work in Luton and Southend.
Local charities Sheffield Cubed, Bradford Trident and Nottingham Citycare Partnership CIC will lead the work in their respective areas.
The NSPCC is leading the work in Blackpool, Family Action is heading Medway and Children North East is in the driving seat in Newcastle.
The National Children’s Bureau will handle the work in Lambeth.