Developing a village to care for the child (and the family)
As a new report is published by The Why Not? Trust, our Executive Director - Moira Greentree, discusses the value of finding out how many care experienced teenagers and young people give birth in Scotland each year and how this information will be used to ensure the right support is developed and given in the right way, at the right time.
“Is it early intervention or aftercare”, both, either, - does it matter? It’s just the right thing to do.
Everybody who has been on the journey to parenthood knows that it is a time of very mixed emotions. Excitement/Shock/Surprise at becoming pregnant, fear that you will not know what to do, confusion over the different systems and processes, surprise at the costs and amount of ‘stuff’ out there, and then the expectations that you put on yourself to be the best parent possible – to mention just a few.
When on the journey to parenthood, we benefit from being able to reach out for support from others, but what if you don’t have those others? And don’t have faith in systems that can offer support.
Early support to help mothers
The Promise is clear that we need to support families better. There are many new services which are offering great options, but we know past experiences and perceptions of systems and stigma or judgement that someone has experienced, can make it difficult for people to ask for support. The fear of being assessed, of what happens to your record and the sense of handing over control can make people avoid that much needed, early support.
Over many years our Why Not? community has told us the importance when becoming a parent, of having someone there who understands, just ‘gets it’, can offer support and can help be the bridge to the formal services. This listening and learning led us to bringing people together to develop The Village, and further listening and learning has helped us recognise we could still do more.
What the figures in the report tell us
It has been a challenge to find out how many people from the care experienced community become parents every year, there are no readily available statistics.
Research tells us these parents are less likely to have a readily available support network and more likely to feel anxious about reaching out for support. So how many parents are we talking about in Scotland? And how do we offer ‘safe’ support that new parents want and trust.
As data was not readily available, we commissioned CELCIS to do a desk-based review of the statistics available to find the number of parents. The report ‘Births to Care Experienced Teenagers and Women aged 14-24 in Scotland: An Estimation’, details the work that was required to determine the figures.
Each year between 400 and 600 of the new mothers in Scotland have experience of care.
What we plan to do in partnership with expectant, new and experienced parents
Now we have the number, we need to develop the right support given in the right way and at the right time. Our next stage is to gather a group of expectant, new and experienced parents, and together develop a new option to sit alongside The Village. Based on principles such as:
We will offer a way of providing the trusted relationship with someone who ‘gets it’, bringing together parents with care experience who want to support others and expectant and new parents with care experience. Offering training, resources and support as required, recognising and rewarding the supporting role.
Listening and learning as we go, offering the support to families that they deserve and doing our bit to Keep the Promise.
If you want to join us on the journey, you will be very welcome, just let us know. You can follow or message us through our social media channels, join our HUB or email directly.
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the report - Care_Experienced_Teenagers_and_Mothers_V1_Feb_2023.pdf (celcis.org)