and Parenthood by asafwewe


									November 2002

      and Parenthood
                                                                   Strategy &
                                                                   Action Plan

Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
An Roinn Sláinte, Seirbhísí Sóisialta agus Sábháilteachta Poiblí

Chapter 1 – Why We Need a Strategy     03

Chapter 2 – Aims                       06

Chapter 3 – Action Plan                09

Chapter 4 – Summary of Action Points   16

Chapter 5 – Making it Happen           18

Annex – Equality Implications          20
Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

             CHAPTER 1
Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

       CHAPTER 1
             1.1 The Executive in its Programme For                      the young persons concerned, but
                 Government under the theme                              also for their families.
                 “Working For A Healthier People”
                 gave a commitment to tackling the                    1.5 Unplanned pregnancy represents a
                 problems associated with teenage                         traumatic interruption to the
                 pregnancy. In addition an                                lifestyles of young parents – they are
                 overarching strategy for children and                    suddenly forced into the realities and
                 young people is being developed                          decisions of adulthood, with which
                 which will set out the vision, values                    they are generally unprepared and
                 and underlying principles for all                        ill-equipped to cope. They face
                 children and young people and the                        limited prospects in the areas of
                 long-term goals to make that vision                      education and training and are
                 a reality.                                               relegated to working in low paid,
                                                                          low status jobs or to unemployment
             1.2 The “Investing for Health” Strategy                      and dependence on state benefits.
                 provides the framework for the
                 Government’s attack on preventable                   1.6 In 1999, teenage parenthood was
                 disease, ill health and inequalities in                  identified as an issue to be addressed
                 health. It identifies sexual health and                  under the Promoting Social Inclusion
                 teenage pregnancy as important                           initiative. The Department of
                 areas for action.                                        Health, Social Services and Public
                                                                          Safety (DHSSPS) subsequently issued
             1.3 With 1,700 births per year, our rates                    the report of a Working Group on
                 of teenage pregnancy are among                           Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood
                 the highest in Europe. Rates are                         entitled “Myths and Reality” for
                 highest in areas of greatest social                      public consultation in November
                 and economic deprivation. While                          2000.
                 some older teenagers may choose to
                 become pregnant, the majority do                     1.7 The report contained an analysis of
                 not.                                                     the birth pattern of teenage mothers
                                                                          and research evidence on associated
             1.4 Many young people are successful in                      risk-taking behaviour among
                 adapting to the role of parenthood                       teenagers. It explained why efforts
                 and have happy, healthy children.                        to reduce rates of teenage
                 For too many, however, unplanned                         pregnancy must focus on raising the
                 teenage pregnancy and early                              expectations among young people
                 motherhood is associated with poor                       and on equipping them with the
                 educational achievement, poor                            confidence and skills to manage
                 physical and mental health, social                       relationships. The report also
                 isolation and poverty. For those                         stressed the importance of cross-
                 who are particularly young with little                   sectoral partnerships to promote
                 or no family or financial support                        change and to improve the life
                 teenage pregnancy can cause                              chances of young parents and their
                 considerable distress, not only for                      children.

                                            Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

1.8 Responses to the consultation, and                 programme, which includes in year
    in particular young people’s views                 one teenage pregnancy as a new
    acquired through a series of focus                 policy requiring EQIA. A Working
    groups, have helped shape this                     Group, representative of the main
    Strategy and Action Plan. The vast                 interests involved, was established to
    majority of respondents welcomed                   further develop the Strategy and an
    this initiative to tackle the problem              EQIA.
    and highlighted a number of
    priorities including:                         1.10 The Human Rights Act 1998 came
                                                       fully into force in October 2000. It
   • the importance of parent/child                    provides additional focus and
     communication;                                    emphasis to the rights and freedoms
                                                       of individuals guaranteed under the
   • sex education in the context of                   European Convention on Human
     relationships and personal and                    Rights. There are some 18
     social education;                                 Convention rights and protocols
                                                       which range from the Right to Life
   • promoting self-esteem;                            to the Right to Education. The Act
                                                       requires legislation, wherever
   • good accessibility of services                    enacted, to be interpreted as far as
     particularly in areas of deprivation;             possible in a way which is
                                                       compatible with the Convention
   • the importance of adequate                        rights; makes it unlawful for a public
     funding to implement the                          authority to act incompatibly with
     recommendations.                                  the Convention rights; and, if it
                                                       does, allows a case to be brought in
1.9 Section 75 of the Northern Ireland                 a court or tribunal against the
    Act 1998 requires public authorities               authority. DHSSPS will ensure this
    in carrying out their functions to                 policy is compatible with the Human
    promote equality of opportunity                    Rights Act.
    between persons of different
    religious belief, political opinion,
    racial group, age, marital status,
    sexual orientation, gender, disability
    and persons with dependents or
    without. DHSSPS together with its
    associated bodies conducted a 2-
    stage joint consultation exercise on
    the equality implications of its
    policies between December 2000
    and June 2001. This helped to
    identify priorities for an Equality
    Impact Assessment (EQIA)

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

     CHAPTER 2
                                                            Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

  2.1 The aims of this Strategy are to:                           2.4 Actions arising from the Strategy will
                                                                      focus, in particular, on areas of
     • facilitate a reduction in the number                           socio-economic deprivation where
       of unplanned births to teenage                                 rates of teenage pregnancy are
       mothers; and                                                   highest. In addition, the particular
                                                                      needs of young people living in rural
     • minimise the adverse                                           areas will be taken into account.
       consequences of those births to
       teenage parents and their children.
  2.2 The aims will be realised through
      concerted inter-departmental and                            2.5 This Strategy adopts the framework
      multi-sectoral co-operation building                            of values and principles set out in
      on the existing strengths and skills of                         the “Investing for Health” Strategy.
      all young people, the vast majority                             In addition, the following principles
      of whom are making responsible                                  are appropriate for action on
      decisions in relation to their                                  teenage pregnancy and parenthood.
      sexuality. Parents, family, schools,                            These principles form the foundation
      churches and communities have                                   of the Strategy and provide the
      important roles in influencing and                              criteria against which interventions,
      supporting young people.                                        services and practices will be
                                                                      delivered and evaluated.
  2.3 The Strategy sets the following
      targets:                                                         • Involving Youth
                                                                         Young people’s views should be
     • a reduction of 20% in the rate of                                 sought and taken into account by
       births to teenage mothers by 2007;                                those who make decisions on their
       (Baseline 19.5 per 1,000 women aged 19 years
       and under, 1998 –2000)

     • a reduction of 40% in the rate of                               • Avoiding Personal Prejudice
       births to teenage mothers under 17;                               All young people have the right to
       (Baseline 4.1 per 1,000 girls aged under 17 years,
       1998 – 2000)
                                                                         be treated in a non-judgemental
     • 75% of teenagers should not have
       experienced sexual intercourse by                               • Building on Success
       the age of 16;                                                    Future activities should, where
                                                                         possible, build on existing,
     • 100% of teenage mothers of                                        evaluated good practice.
       compulsory school age should
       complete formal education;                                      • Acting on Evidence
                                                                         Action to reduce the problems
     • 50% of teenage mothers should                                     associated with teenage
       participate in post 16 education                                  parenthood must be based on an
       beyond school leaving age.                                        evidence-based approach.

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

             Taking the Strategy Forward

             2.6 This Strategy will be taken forward in
                 the context of the “Investing for
                 Health” Strategy, which provides a
                 framework for the Government’s
                 action on preventable disease, ill-
                 health and health inequalities. The
                 actions set out in Chapter 3 have
                 been developed to take account of
                 the fact that young people living in
                 areas of socio-economic deprivation
                 are at greater risk of becoming
                 teenage parents. Implementation of
                 the actions will require innovative
                 approaches involving the use of the
                 voluntary and community sectors.

             2.7 The Strategy comprises a number of
                 actions grouped under the following

                  • policy development;
                  • information and education;
                  • parent/child communication;
                  • improving services;
                  • confidentiality;
                  • improving training;
                  • providing support;
                  • research.

             2.8 Chapter 3 sets out for each of these
                 areas, the actions to be taken, initial
                 target dates and the main partners.

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

                              CHAPTER 3
                            ACTION PLAN
Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

       CHAPTER 3
             Policy Development                                       Information and Education

             3.1 The Myths and Reality Report                         3.2 Ignorance about sex is a key risk
                 noted that “socio-economic                               factor in teenage pregnancy.
                 disadvantage can be both a cause                         Research shows that good
                 and a consequence of teenage                             comprehensive relationships and
                 parenthood”. Consequently the                            sexuality education can help young
                 problem cannot be tackled in                             people delay starting sexual activity
                 isolation but has to be addressed                        and make them more likely to use
                 through policy development in the                        contraceptives when they do.
                 areas of New TSN, equality, social
                 inclusion and community                              3.3 In schools, an effective Personal
                 development. This requires a multi-                      and Social Education Programme
                 agency approach and the                                  which includes Relationship and
                 development of strong cross-sectoral                     Sexual Education (RSE) is essential
                 partnerships.                                            in providing young people with the
                                                                          knowledge and skills to promote
                                                                          responsible decision making. A
             Action 1                                                     major step towards achieving this
             DHSSPS will establish a Multi-Agency                         has been the recent issue of RSE
             Implementation Group to direct and                           Guidance for Primary and Post
             oversee implementation of the Strategy                       Primary Schools.
             and Action Plan.
             Target Date: January 2003.
                                                                      Action 3
                                                                      DE in partnership with Education and
             Action 2                                                 Library Boards, Health and Social
             DHSSPS in partnership with the                           Services Boards and Trusts and Health
             Department of Education (DE) and                         Promotion Agency will facilitate and
             Department of Employment and                             support the implementation of the
             Learning (DEL) will establish a multi-                   guidelines on RSE and progress will be
             agency group to develop a Regional                       assessed through the Inspection
             Sexual Health Promotion Strategy which                   Programme of Schools.
             will include the needs of young people.                  Target Date: To commence school year
             Target Dates: 1.Group to be established                               2002/03.
                               by November 2002.
                            2. Strategy to be
                               completed by June

                                         Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

Action 4                                       Action 6
Health and Social Services Boards and          Health and Social Services Boards and
Trusts in partnership with Education and       Trusts in partnership with Education
Library Boards, Voluntary and                  and Library Boards, and Voluntary and
Community organisations will publish           Community organisations will facilitate
local directories of resources, which are      the further development of community
accessible to all young people, offering       based programmes and courses on
information on services.                       parent/child communication.
Target Date: December 2003.                    Target Date: October 2003.

Action 5                                       Improving Services
Health and Social Services Boards and
Trusts in partnership with Voluntary and       3.5 Services refer not only to traditional
Community organisations will further               health services such as family
develop, particularly in areas of socio-           planning services but to the
economic deprivation and rural areas,              broader range of services, which
community based teenage personal                   promote health and well-being.
development programmes that will
incorporate sexual health issues and risk-     3.6 As teenage parenthood rates are
taking behaviour.                                  highest in areas of social
Target Date: April 2004.                           deprivation there is a need to
                                                   target initiatives to improve the
                                                   health and social well-being of
Parent/Child Communication                         teenagers in these areas in
                                                   partnership with local communities.
3.4 Adolescence is often seen as a time            The development of specific
    of heightened conflict between parents         teenage programmes that build on
    and children. The child at this stage          the success of evaluated projects
    strives towards self-definition and            could provide a valuable contact
    embarks on the process of beginning            point for teenagers to obtain
    to separate from the family. The               information, advice and referral to
    Survey on the Health Behaviour of              specific services. Through a holistic
    School Children (WHO 1997/98)                  approach such programmes could
    shows that poor family                         provide a mechanism for the
    communication is associated with               promotion of teenage health whilst
    increased risk taking behaviour,               promoting social inclusion and
    particularly for girls, whilst the US          community ownership.
    National Longitudinal Study of
    Teenage Health indicated that a
    high degree of family ‘connectedness’
    through communication and shared
    activities was associated with
    delayed first intercourse.

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

             3.7 Teenage programmes should be                              education about sexual health,
                 tailored to the needs of individual                       sexuality, fatherhood, parenting
                 communities and include health                            rights and responsibilities. Special
                 promotion information and advice,                         attention is required to meet the
                 especially on risk taking behaviour,                      needs of young men.
                 access to peer education, links to
                 health and social services, and                      3.11 Services should be responsive to
                 information on housing and                                the specific needs of all young
                 employment. Personal                                      people, for example the needs of
                 development should be a key                               those from an ethnic minority
                 element of teenage programmes as                          background or those marginalized
                 confidence and positive self-esteem                       as a result of suspension/expulsion
                 will determine decisions made by                          from school. Those with physical or
                 young people.                                             learning disabilities or emotional
                                                                           difficulties may have very specific
             3.8 Among young people who are                                and individual needs, which need
                 sexually active it is important that                      to be addressed by service providers.
                 their health care needs are
                 addressed. There has been a recent
                 increase in the incidence of sexually                Action 7
                 transmitted infections (STIs) among                  Health and Social Services Boards and
                 young people. Encouraging young                      Trusts in partnership with Voluntary and
                 people who are sexually active to                    Community organisations will review
                 engage in safer sex will be vital in                 their sexual health services to ensure
                 reducing the rate of STIs and                        that they are available, accessible and
                 teenage parenthood.                                  tailored to the needs of all young
             3.9 Young people’s perceptions of                        Target Date: April 2003.
                 family planning services are crucial
                 to whether or not they use them.
                 For example, their concerns about                    Action 8
                 confidentiality may prevent them                     Health and Social Services Boards in
                 seeking advice. Services must be                     partnership with Trust and Primary Care
                 tailored to the needs of all young                   professionals will as far as possible
                 people. Timing and location of                       ensure that pregnant teenagers receive
                 clinics influence young people’s                     antenatal and postnatal care that is
                 attendance and these should be                       tailored to their specific needs.
                 provided to meet the needs of the                    Target Date: Ongoing.
                 local population.

             3.10 Young men often perceive services                   Confidentiality
                  as irrelevant to them and are
                  reluctant to seek help and support.                 3.12 Young people’s concerns about
                  Yet there is a great need for                            confidentiality can result in their

                                            Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

     reluctance to seek information and
     advice and to use contraceptive              Action 10
     services. They may fear that if they         DHSSPS in partnership with Health and
     consult a doctor their parents may           Social Services Boards and Trusts,
     be informed. Even if they know               Voluntary and Community organisations
     that their discussion with a doctor          will publish updated guidelines on the
     or a nurse will be treated in                issue of confidentiality for all those
     confidence, they may worry that              working within a health care setting.
     their anonymity within the clinical          Target Date: September 2003.
     setting may not be respected by
     others who are attending, or by
     administrative or support staff.             Action 11
                                                  DE in partnership with Education and
3.13 Guidance exists for health                   Library Boards and Health and Social
     professionals who can provide                Services Boards and Trusts will publish
     contraceptive advice or treatment            guidelines on the issue of confidentiality
     to an under 16 year old without              for school staff.
     parental consent provided the                Target Date: September 2003.
     treatment can be justified on the
     grounds of necessity, or that it can
     be demonstrated that the minor               Improving Training
     was capable of giving informed
     consent. Health and Social Services          3.14 Young people come into contact
     Boards’ child protection procedures               with a wide range of professionals
     cover what to do in cases where                   such as teachers, youth workers,
     there is an issue of abuse or                     doctors, nurses, health visitors and
     exploitation. For other professional              social workers. Some, particularly
     groups, comparable guidance is                    teachers, play a central role in
     not readily available. For example,               teaching RSE and educating young
     there is uncertainty among teachers               people. It is essential that those
     about what they can say and do                    who teach RSE are comfortable
     and who has to be told if a young                 doing so and receive training to
     person reveals that they are, or                  provide them with the necessary
     planning to be, sexually active.                  skills.

Action 9
DHSSPS in partnership with DE, Health             Action 12
and Social Services Boards and Trusts,            Education and Library Boards will ensure
Education and Library Boards, the                 that where a school identifies a need for
Health Promotion Agency and Voluntary             training for teachers nominated to teach
and Community organisations will                  RSE such training is available and can be
publish a leaflet for young people                assessed.
outlining their rights to confidentiality.        Target Date: September 2003.
Target Date: September 2003.

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

             Action 13                                                Action 15
             Health and Social Services Boards and                    DE in partnership with DEL, Education
             Trusts in partnership with the Health                    and Library Boards, Schools/Colleges,
             Promotion Agency and Voluntary and                       Voluntary and Community organisations
             Community organisations will ensure                      will ensure that education arrangements
             that staff working with young people,                    are sufficiently flexible so that pregnant
             including Primary Care staff, receive                    or parenting teenagers wishing to
             training that will maximise their                        remain in education can do so.
             effectiveness in communicating and                       Target Date: Ongoing.
             working with young people including
             those with a disability or from an ethnic
             minority background.                                     Action 16
             Target Date: Training programmes to                      DE will issue guidelines on the pastoral
                            commence by September                     care of pregnant/parenting teenagers.
                            2003.                                     Target Date: September 2003.

             Action 14                                                Action 17
             Education and Library Boards will ensure                 DHSSPS in partnership with DE will
             that youth workers receive training that                 develop and implement a mechanism
             will maximise their effectiveness in                     for funding of childcare for parenting
             communicating and working with                           teenagers who wish to remain in
             young people, including those with a                     education and whose families cannot
             disability or from an ethnic minority                    help with childcare.
             background.                                              Target Date: September 2003.
             Target Date: Training programmes to
                             commence by September
                             2003.                                    Action 18
                                                                      DEL will ensure that, as far as possible,
                                                                      training programmes are sufficiently
             Providing Support                                        flexible to meet the needs of young people.
                                                                      Target Date: Ongoing.
             3.15 Many young parents face
                  difficulties in continuing with their
                  education, have limited access to                   Action 19
                  appropriate training opportunities,                 Northern Ireland Housing Executive in
                  experience economic disadvantage                    partnership with Health and Social
                  and as a consequence suffer from                    Services Trusts, Voluntary and
                  stress, isolation and social                        Community organisations will ensure
                  exclusion.                                          that where appropriate, teenage
                                                                      mothers requiring housing are
                                                                      accommodated as close to their families
                                                                      and communities as possible.
                                                                      Target Date: Ongoing.

                                             Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007


3.16 “Myths and Reality” included many
     promising approaches to tackling
     teenage pregnancy and
     parenthood but stated that there
     remain significant gaps, particularly
     with regard to the evaluation of
     initiatives to tackle the problem. A
     sound research base and database
     on evaluated interventions will be
     critical in informing the
     implementation of this Strategy. It
     will be important to maximise on
     research opportunities through the
     Research & Development Office’s
     (R&D) commissioned research and
     other sources of funding.

Action 20
DHSSPS in partnership with the R&D
Office and other stakeholders will
promote health, education and social
issues relating to teenagers as a priority
in shaping and developing the public
health research agenda.
Target Date: Ongoing

Action 21
DHSSPS in partnership with DE, Health
Promotion Agency and other
stakeholders will establish a database of
evaluated interventions and ensure that
all new interventions are rigorously
Target Date: April 2005.

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

     CHAPTER 4
                                             Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007


 1. Establishment of Multi-Agency                  13. Staff working with young people to
    Implementation Group                               receive training in communicating
    – January 2003                                     and working with young people –
                                                       September 2003
 2. Development of a Sexual Health
    Promotion Strategy – June 2003                 14. Youth workers to receive training in
 3. Support of and assessment of                       communicating and working with
    guidelines on RSE – 2002/03                        young people – September 2003

 4. Publication of local directories of            15. Education arrangements to be
    resources - December 2003                          flexible for pregnant or parenting
                                                       teenagers wishing to remain in
 5. Further development of community                   education – Ongoing
    based teenage personal
    development programmes –                       16. Development and dissemination of
    April 2004                                         guidelines on pastoral care of
                                                       pregnant/parenting teenagers –
 6. Further development of community                   September 2003
    based programmes on parent/child
    communication – October 2003                   17. Development and implementation of
                                                       mechanism for funding of childcare
 7. Sexual health services to be                       for parenting teenagers who wish to
    accessible and tailored to the needs               remain in education –
    of all young people – April 2003                   September 2003
 8. Pregnant teenagers to receive                  18. Development of initiatives to
    antenatal and postnatal care tailored              facilitate flexible training and
    to their specific needs – Ongoing                  employment opportunities for young
                                                       parents – Ongoing
 9. Publication of a leaflet for young
    people outlining their rights to               19. Teenage mothers to be housed as
    confidentiality – September 2003                   close to their families as possible –
 10. Publication of guidelines on issue of
     confidentiality for use in a health           20. Further development of research
     care setting – September 2003                     base on health, education and social
                                                       issues relating to teenagers -
 11. Publication of guidelines on the issue            Ongoing
     of confidentiality for school staff –
     September 2003                                21. Database of evaluated interventions
                                                       to be established and new
 12. Training to be available for teachers             interventions to be evaluated –
     nominated to teach RSE –                          April 2005
     September 2003

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

     CHAPTER 5
                                         Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

  5.1 This Strategy will be taken forward       Resources
      in the context of the “Investing for
      Health” Strategy. It will require         5.4 The Department of Health, Social
      commitment from a wide range of               Services and Public Safety will be
      public, voluntary and community               making £300,000 available in this
      organisations working in partnership          and the following two financial years
      to achieve a reduction in the                 to implement the Strategy and
      number of births to teenage                   Action Plan.
      mothers and minimise the adverse
      consequences of those births to
      teenage parents and their children.

  Managing The Plan

  5.2 The Ministerial Group on Public
      Health (MGPH) will be responsible
      for the overall monitoring of the
      Strategy and Action Plan. DHSSPS
      will establish a Multi-Agency
      Implementation Group to oversee
      and drive forward the actions
      outlined in Chapter 3. The
      Implementation Group will develop
      intermediate milestones and will
      report progress to MGPH annually.
      The Strategy will be reviewed after
      five years.


  5.3 The Implementation Group will
      consider the need for additional
      research to assist effective
      implementation and monitoring of
      the Strategy and Action Plan.

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

                                             Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007


 EQUALITY IMPLICATIONS                             Background

 1. Introduction                                   1.3 For some time there has been
                                                       growing concern among statutory,
 Northern Ireland Act 1998                             voluntary and community
                                                       organisations about the impact of
 1.1 Section 75 of the Northern Ireland                teenage parenthood and the
     Act 1998 requires the Department                  consequences for the young mother
     of Health, Social Services and Public             and her baby. There are
     Safety (DHSSPS) in carrying out its               approximately 1,700 births to
     functions relating to Northern                    teenage mothers each year.
     Ireland, to have due regard to the
     need to promote equality of                   1.4 In 1999 the DHSSPS established a
     opportunity –                                     Multi-Sectoral Working Group to
                                                       look at the issues of teenage
    • between persons of different                     pregnancy and parenthood. The
      religious belief, political opinion,             terms of reference were:
      racial group, age, marital status
      or sexual orientation;                            “To develop a co-ordinated
                                                        strategy through which relevant
    • between men and women                             agencies will work together to:
      generally;                                        contribute to a reduction of 10%
                                                        in the number of births to
    • between persons with a disability                 teenage mothers by 2002;
      and persons without; and                          address the difficulties which
                                                        young parents and their families
    • between persons with                              face during pregnancy and after
      dependants and persons without.                   birth so as to prevent young
                                                        parents or their children from
 1.2 In addition, without prejudice to the              being socially excluded in either
     above obligation, DHSSPS should                    the immediate or longer term.
     also, in carrying out its functions                In doing so it will be concerned
     relating to Northern Ireland, have                 with issues relating to young
     regard to the desirability of                      fathers as well as to young mothers“.
     promoting good relations between
     persons of different religious belief,        1.5 Following consultation and
     political opinion or racial group.                discussion with a range of interested
                                                       organisations and individuals,
                                                       including young people, the
                                                       Working Group’s report ”Myths and
                                                       Reality: Teenage Pregnancy and
                                                       Parenthood” was published in
                                                       November 2000 for public
                                                       consultation. Given DHSSPS’s

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

                   commitment to promote equality of                     consequences of those births to
                   opportunity and good relations the                    teenage mothers and their children.
                   consultation invited views on the
                   extent to which the Report was                     2.2 The policy has been defined by
                   consistent with these principles.                      DHSSPS. It will be implemented by
                                                                          DHSSPS in conjunction with other
             1.6 Responses were received from 48                          Departments, statutory bodies and
                 organisations and individuals. The                       the voluntary and community
                 majority of respondents welcomed                         sectors.
                 the initiative and highlighted a
                 number of priorities including the                   2.3 The policy will increase awareness
                 importance of parent/child                               and understanding of the difficulties
                 communication, sex education,                            associated with teenage parenthood,
                 promotion of self-esteem and                             address inequalities by targeting
                 accessibility of services. Some                          vulnerable groups and ensure that
                 concerns were expressed including                        all young people have access to
                 recommendations being too                                information and sexuality education
                 general, teenage mothers not                             and support services. The outcome
                 involved in the Working Group and                        of the policy is to reduce the
                 failure to take account of the pro-life                  number of unplanned births to
                 ethos.                                                   teenage mothers and provide
                                                                          support to teenage parents.
             1.7 With regard to equality a number of
                 responses highlighted the need for a
                 greater emphasis on the needs of                     3. Groups Affected by the Policy
                 vulnerable people including young
                 fathers, those from an ethnic                        3.1 The policy will affect the health and
                 minority background, or those with                       well being of young people
                 a physical or learning disability. The                   generally. In terms of the categories
                 responses have been taken into                           listed in 1.1 the groups most likely
                 account in the development of this                       to be affected by the policy are
                 Strategy and Action Plan.                                young women and young men.

             2. Aims of the Strategy                                  4. Consideration of Available Data
                                                                         and Research
             2.1 The aims of the Strategy on Teenage
                 Pregnancy and Parenthood are to:                     4.1 When considering the equality
                                                                          implications of the Strategy and
                  • facilitate a reduction in the                         Action Plan account was taken of
                    number of unplanned births to                         information provided by existing
                    teenage parents; and                                  surveys and also information
                                                                          through discussion with voluntary
                  • minimise the adverse                                  organisations as set out below.

                                                   Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

    i. Source: General Register Office                        iii. Source: Young People’s
                                                              Behaviour and Attitudes Survey
Teenage births outside marriage by age of mother
    Age             1999          2000
    13              1             1
                                                              77% of 11-16 year olds have had a
                                                              girlfriend or boyfriend.
    14              6             10
    15              56            47
                                                              27% of pupils have had no sexual
    16              149           163
                                                              experience, 36% have had a small
    17              342           306
                                                              amount, 26% have had some
    18              539           467
                                                              experience but no sexual intercourse
    19              587           554
                                                              and 11% have had sexual
    TOTAL           1680          1548
                                                              intercourse, with the majority being
                                                              14 years of age the first time.
Teenage births inside marriage by age of mother
                                                              Almost three quarters (74%) used
    Age             1999          2000                        some form of contraception - with
    16              1             1                           just over four fifths (81%) using a
    17              9             6                           condom.
    18              27            16
    19              78            50                          62% of pupils would find it easy to
    TOTAL           115           73                          get contraceptives and most would
                                                              get them from shops or chemists,
    Dependents – information not
                                                              bars, public toilets etc.
    available for single mothers
                                                              21% find it easy to talk to one or
    Religion, political opinion, ethnic
                                                              both of their parents about sexual
    minority, disability – information not
    ii. Source: Office of Population                          17% find it difficult, and 34% don’t
    Census & Surveys                                          discuss such topics.
    Number of abortions performed in
                                                              iv. Source: Health Behaviour of
    England to Northern Ireland
                                                              School Children 1997/98
    residents under 20
    1999         265                                          15% of years 9 –12 (post-primary
    2000         301                                          pupils) had experienced sexual
                                                              intercourse. In relation to this
    Religion, political opinion, marital                      percentage, the average age of first
    status, dependents, racial group,                         sexual intercourse was 13 for boys
    disability – information not available.                   and 14 for girls.

Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

                  v. Source: Health & Social
                  Wellbeing Survey 2001                               5.3 Young parents – both male and
                                                                          female – have particular needs. For
                   Half of respondents reported having                    young females, teenage pregnancy
                   had sexual intercourse for the first                   and early motherhood can lead to
                   time by the age of 17 for men and                      limited education, training and
                   age 18 for women.                                      employment. For young men, the
                                                                          consequences range from financial
             5. Assessment of Impact                                      responsibilities to experiencing
                                                                          emotional problems at being
             5.1 The policy aims to reduce the                            separated from their children if
                 number of unplanned births to                            access is denied. Young people
                 teenage parents and to minimise the                      from ethnic minority backgrounds
                 adverse consequences of those                            and those with a physical or
                 births to teenage parents and their                      learning disability may have
                 children. As outlined in paragraph                       additional needs with regard to
                 1.8 responses to the consultation on                     access to information and services
                 “Myths and Reality” identified the                       and may require additional support.
                 importance of communication, sex                         All professionals working with young
                 education, promotion of self-esteem                      people need to be aware of these
                 and accessibility of services. They                      needs and have the knowledge and
                 also highlighted the need for greater                    skills to deal with them.
                 emphasis on the needs of vulnerable
                 people including young fathers,                      5.4 The Strategy and Action Plan has
                 those from ethnic minority                               been developed to meet the needs
                 backgrounds, and those with a                            of and support teenage parents. It
                 physical or learning disability.                         is the DHSSPS’ view that it should
                                                                          not have an adverse impact on any
             5.2 Consideration of the data in                             of the Section 75 groups. The
                 paragraph 4 indicates that the                           actions outlined should promote
                 majority of births to under 20s are                      equality of opportunity and promote
                 to single teenage girls in the age                       good relations by ensuring that:
                 range 16-19. No information is
                 available to whether the births were                    • professionals receive relevant
                 planned or unplanned. No                                  training and skills;
                 information is available by religion,
                 dependents, ethnic minority,                            • support services and information
                 disability, or sexual orientation. The                    are available and accessible to all
                 data also indicates that a significant                    young people;
                 number of young women travel to
                 England to have abortions                               • young teenage mothers have the
                 performed. No information is                              same opportunities to education and
                 available on the fathers of children                      training as other young females; and
                 to teenage mothers.

                                           Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Strategy and Action Plan 2002-2007

   • resources will be targeted to those
     most in need.

6. Monitoring of Impact of Policy

6.1 An Implementation Group is to be
    established to take forward the
    Strategy and Action Plan. This
    group will report progress on an
    annual basis to the Ministerial Group
    on Public Health and advise on
    research, which together with
    returns from the General Registrar’s
    Office and other surveys will be used
    to monitor progress. In addition the
    Department will be monitoring
    progress in the course of regular
    meetings with voluntary
    organisations working in this area.

                        ISBN 0-946932-05-0

Published by: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety,
                  Castle Buildings, Belfast BT4 3SJ

      Telephone 028 9052 0772 Textphone (028) 9052 7668

                          November 2002

                             Ref: 18/02

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