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W3C Compliance

6.6.1 Teenage Pregnancy

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This short chapter highlights Merton Council’s commitment to supporting young women who are pregnant and promoting their education.

RELEVANT LINKS

London Borough of Merton Referral Pathway for Pregnant Teenagers and Teenage Parents Aged 19 and Under

Supporting Pregnant Teenagers and Young Parents in Education – Guidance for Education Settings (June 2014)

Getting It On website - Information and services for 13-19 year olds on sexual and mental health issues, drugs and alcohol and relationship problems.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

NICE, Clinical Guidance, Post natal care up to 8 weeks after birth (January 2017)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was significantly updated throughout in May 2017 to add two new sections, Section 3, Parenthood (Mothers Aged Under 16) and Section 4, Parenthood (Mothers Aged Over 16) as well as links to: ‘London Borough of Merton Referral Pathway for Pregnant Teenagers and Teenage Parents Aged 19 and Under’; ‘Supporting Pregnant Teenagers and Young Parents in Education – Guidance for Education Settings’ and ‘Getting It On’ (see above). The NICE, Clinical Guidance, Post natal care up to 8 weeks after birth (January 2017) has been updated and now reflects the updated guidance and provides recommendations on: care planning and delivery; maternal health; infant feeding and maintaining infant health.


Contents

  1. Policy and Guidance
  2. Disclosure of Pregnancy
  3. Parenthood (Mothers Aged Under 16)
  4. Parenthood (Mothers Aged Over 16)


1. Policy and Guidance

Merton Children, Schools and Families are committed to working with young women and young expectant fathers across all of their services.

Merton has a strong and reputable partnership arrangement between their external agencies to ensure that there is a targeted response delivering services to young people. The Joint Substance Misuse and Teenage Pregnancy Strategy within the borough is a joint approach to ensuring teenage pregnancy and substance misuse is reduced and those affected are supported. The strategy is delivered through annual joint action plans.

Schools are advised to follow the local guidance ‘Supporting Pregnant Teenagers and Young Parents in Education – Guidance for Education Settings'.

 in their response to safeguarding and supporting disclosure of pregnancy and or support through pregnancy and return to school following birth. This guidance for educational settings clearly outlines the aims, objectives and legislative duties of care that they have for their students. There is an expectation that a young woman’s education is actively promoted whether this is within school, home or other identified educational provision, as well as fostering their learning when they are a parent and reintegrated back into education on their return.


2. Disclosure of Pregnancy

Upon a young woman making a disclosure of a pregnancy appropriate enquires should be made to ensure that she has full access to health services. In the early stages of pregnancy, the young woman may wish to talk through her options and can be signposted and supported to speak in confidence with sexual health professionals (see Getting It On Website).

Where the young woman chooses to continue the pregnancy, she should be supported through the appropriate avenues to access her GP, midwifery services and the Family Nurse Partnership (if under 24 weeks pregnant and aged 19 and under).

Professionals have a responsibility to consider the welfare of both the prospective mother and her baby and should consider early help and support services, particularly where the mother is a Looked After child or Care leaver herself. However, the paramount concern must be for the welfare of the baby, and there should be no circumstances in which concerns about the baby are not shared and investigated for fear of damaging a relationship with a young parent. Social Care should undertake an assessment of the unborn child's needs and any potential risk of harm posed to them from the mother's needs and circumstances, including the mother's relationship with the father / current partner and the parenting capacity of both.

If there is a concern that the young person may have been ‘sexually exploited’ or is at risk of ‘Significant Harm’ immediate contact with the MASH Team to make a referral. See London Borough of Merton Referral Pathway for Pregnant Teenagers and Teenage Parents Aged 19 and Under.


3. Parenthood (Mothers Aged Under 16)

Health and education professionals are most likely to have contact with pregnant teenagers and young parents. However, professionals in all agencies should be alert to situations where a teenage mother is not in contact with LA children's social care. Where a parent is herself a child, in the absence of support for her needs and responsibilities, her baby could be at risk of significant harm, primarily through neglect or emotional abuse. If she is under 16, then a referral should be made to MASH at the earliest opportunity, in line with the London Safeguarding Children Boards Child Protection Procedures.


4. Parenthood (Mothers Aged Over 16)

If a young mother is over 16, professionals should:

  • Make an assessment of the risk of harm to the baby, consulting their agency's designated child protection professional as appropriate;
  • Assess the risk of harm to the mother through her relationship with the father / current partner.

If, on the basis of these assessments, a professional has concerns about the ability of a young mother over the age of 16 to care for her baby without additional support services, then a referral should be made to MASH.

See also London Borough of Merton Referral Pathway for Pregnant Teenagers and Teenage Parents Aged 19 and Under.

End