Councils have a major role in ensuring young parents get the help they need, whether it is through the services they commission or deliver. Health visitors, family nurse partnerships, early years, children’s centres, youth services and the voluntary sector all have a key role to play.
Every year around 20,000 teenagers give birth. If you include those born to mothers in their early 20s, the total tops 100,000. Like all parents, young mothers and fathers want to do the best for their children.
Some manage very well, but significant numbers struggle. Their health, education and economic outcomes remain disproportionately poor and, as numbers have declined, many have increasingly complex needs. For a minority, this makes parenting very challenging. Almost 60 per cent of mothers involved in serious case reviews were under 21 when they had their first child.
Councils have a major role in ensuring they get the help they need, whether it is through the services they commission or deliver. Health visitors, family nurse partnerships, early years, children’s centres, youth services and the voluntary sector all have a key role to play.
Collaboration with clinical commissioning groups to provide dedicated midwifery support and post-pregnancy contraception is also important.
The Local Government Association (LGA) and Public Health England (PHE) have developed a framework setting out how different agencies can contribute.
Between them, these services help prepare young parents for the birth of their child and those early months and years, building good emotional wellbeing and resilience, providing positive role models and giving them a trusted adult to confide in and talk to.
But young parents need more than just this. Advice and support on housing, benefits, healthy relationships, drug and alcohol and sexual health are all important too. And close attention needs to be paid to education – research from the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) programme has found nearly half have been suspended, expelled or excluded from school.
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