The Why Not? Trust for Care Experienced Young People (a charity supported by Care Visions) commissioned CELCIS, the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection, to produce an estimate of the number of pregnancies and births per year to care experienced teenagers and women aged 14 to 24 in Scotland.
The work was commissioned to better inform the Trust’s work as currently there is no precise measure available, mainly due to gaps in the data collected.
The statistical research estimates that approximately 400-600 births per year in Scotland are to care experienced teenagers and women aged 14-24, with the majority of the babies born some years after the teenagers or young women have left care. When looking at all data available this suggested that this is following a similar trend of a falling rate of all births and pregnancies among 14 to 24 year olds in Scotland.
The analysis in the report indicates that services need to focus on three areas: supporting pregnancy and preparing teenagers and young women for their baby’s arrival; helping with the mental and physical experience of having a termination; and it identified continued need for all young women to have access to health education and contraception.
It is important that the falling number of births to care experienced teenagers and women does not take the focus away from the support they need. These young people may likely have experienced complex lives and they need to be offered holistic, non-judgemental support, including mental health, housing, financial and employability support, as well as support from peer networks and people that they trust. These supports need to in be place as part of the throughcare and aftercare package for care leavers, as most pregnancies and births happen after they have left care.
Publishing the report, Moira Greentree from the Why Not? Trust said: “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.”
Read the full report Care Experienced Teenagers And Mothers V1 Feb 2023
Read Moira’s blog Developing a Village to care for a child