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4.8.3 Supporting Children in Care through Pregnancy and Birth

RELATED LITERATURE AND GUIDANCE

Sexual Health Guidance for Staff and Carers Working with Looked After Children and Young People: East Riding Council, 2011

Teenage Parents: Who cares? A guide to commissioning and delivering maternity services for young parents, DCSF and DoH, 2008

AMENDMENT

A short paragraph was added in May 2012 to highlight the need to refer the young person for health advice and support.


Key Points

Teenage mothers and their babies experience significantly worse outcomes than older mothers and for young people in care, the difficulties and challenges are accentuated. Becoming a parent to be may have an emotional impact associated with the young person's own experiences of rejection or abandonment, of perceived failures, isolation and reduced self-esteem. It is therefore crucial that planning is in place and effective from an early point in the pregnancy so that the young person feels valued, cared for, well supported and able to make informed, confident and safe decisions about her future and can feel optimistic about the welfare of her unborn child should she decide to proceed with the pregnancy.

Looked After young women who are pregnant need support and guidance to enable them to make informed choices about their future. A young woman who discovers she is pregnant should be put into contact with a health professional at the earliest opportunity. It is recommended that looked after young women who are pregnant are referred to the Teenage Pregnancy Support Service who can help facilitate the young woman's decision about her pregnancy.

When the pregnancy of a young person in care is confirmed, the social worker has primary responsibility for ensuring timely and sensitive access to services (including health services as set out above) and the coordination and updating of the Care Plan.

The physical and emotional welfare of the mother to be and her unborn child are primary considerations and the young mother- to- be should be fully involved at all stages of the planning and implementation processes. Attention should be also given to how the father and significant family members will be involved.

The social worker and the young person should consider the role of the father-to-be at all stages, for example, his role in supporting the mother-to -be and any anticipated parenting needs; the social worker should additionally consider his support needs and signpost appropriately, for example, to access legal advice.

Click here for Looked After Child Pregnancy and Birth Flow Chart

End