Young Parents

Context

Every year in Cornwall around 150 children are born to teenage parents. Although parenthood can be a positive life-enhancing experience for some young people, it brings a number of challenges for young parents and their children and young parents should be offered additional support to help them achieve positive outcomes for themselves and their children.

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Some of the challenges for young parents may be: 

  • Lack of money/deprivation
  • Low self-esteem/lacking in confidence
  • Child protection concerns
  • Lack of childcare
  • Depression and mental health issues
  • Isolation
  • Different cultural norms in different groups of young parents
  • Difficult relationships
  • Transport difficulties
  • Geography – not being able or willing to travel to different areas
  • Insecure and unstable accommodation – frequent moves
  • Being a new parent
  • Losing independence
  • Fighting the negative image of being a young parent and fear of being judged
  • Negative experiences of professionals and services
  • Being unclear about where to get advice and information (Family Action, 2011)

Protecting the future health and wellbeing of teenage parents and their children is a key priority in the Reducing Teenage Pregnancy and Support for Young Parents Action Plan. This includes:

  • Providing additional support to young parents aimed at supporting them to include positive outcomes for themselves and their children.
  • Ensuring support is timely and understands the needs of young parents.
  • Supporting young parents to access universal services and resources which they may feel isolated from, or may not have the experience to access.
  • Supporting young fathers to play a positive and active role in their child’s life.

Every quarter the Young Mums and Dads Practitioner Working Group meet to discuss how universal and specialist services can work together to best support young parents. This group, which has representatives from health, education, social care, public health and the voluntary sector, is accountable to the Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board.

A user friendly guide around services for young parents in Cornwall is available to download.

The Family Information Service will also have details of further groups in your locality.

Young parent’s forums in East and West Cornwall are also operational and produce a quarterly Bulletin about local young parents’ service. For more details contact wild@wildproject.org.uk .