Teenage Pregnancy in Stoke - the City with the highest rate in Europe.
Open Circle or The ODD Group
(Open Democracy Discussion Group)
Tue 13 May 08 at The Blue Mugge pub, Leek
Stoke-on-Trent may, or may not, still have the distinction of being top of the European
league in this sphere but we’ll begin by asking: Why such high teenage pregnancy rates?
What are the main reasons?
Each who wishes to gives one key reason. No discussion at this stage.
Summary of teenage pregnancy problems:
* children born to teenage mothers > 60% higher rates of infant mortality
* mothers are 3 times more likely to suffer post-natal depression
* there’s increased risk of living in poverty.
The Gov’t’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy target = to halve England’s under-18 conception
rate by 2010 from a 1998 baseline.
Aim to increase the proportion of teenage parents in education, training and employment to
60% by 2010 to reduce the risk of long-term social exclusion.
Key factors in this strategy:
- Partners who have role, work together (health, education, social
services, youth support, voluntary sector)
- Selection of a strong senior champion to develop and lead the local
- Effective sexual health advice service
- Priority given to sex and relationship education.
But is the strategy working? Some argue, ‘No.’ Govt. spent more than
£250million on this, but only achieved an 11.5% reduction….
Deeper issues? The MP for the Rhondda ’A map of teenage pregnancy is a map of
poverty and deprivation’… ’… a vicious cycle of under-achievement, benefit dependency,
ill-health, lack of aspiration, poor parenting and child poverty.’
Add, as appropriate, the ideas and views expressed at the beginning of our session.
Back to Stoke: How to lift the City and its citizens from that kind of cycle?
Is it a trivial point to state that Stoke City FC’s promotion to the Premiership
may help address the issue (£60 million more money in the City; improved morale and
achievement for the City)? Other, more substantial and long-term, ways to lift the City?