Commissioned by Public Health in Leicestershire, this was a significant project that has had a positive impact on a range of stakeholders - from individual teenagers to staff in partner agencies and the creation of sustainable action groups.
Pregnant Teenagers, Young Parents and their children are at higher risk of a number of poor health outcomes and of experiencing poverty in the future. With appropriate support in place, these risks can be minimised.
We were commissioned to deliver the Supporting Parents under 20 contract to support the successful delivery of Leicestershire's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.
As part of the project we..
- created a young parents forum so that young parents were at the centre of delivery
- designed, created & maintained the parentsunder20 website
- developed a quality framework for learning providers to ensure that every effort is made to help pregnant learners and young parents stay in education
- delivered a number of young people led projects, including the Baby Box project and consumer testing of baby goods from value to premium ranges
- designed and created a range of resources to support young parents, including a support directory, a guide to breastfeeding, information about post-natal contraception, books to provide accounts of other young parents' experiences that have been distributed to pregnant teenagers across the county
- trained a range of professionals in ways of engaging with, and supporting, young parents effectively
- were involved in the Becoming Dad project, which aims to provide dedicated support and information to young fathers
- worked with volunteer young parents to deliver sessions in schools about the realities of young parenthood
- organised public facing exhibitions with a range of artwork to challenge stereotypes around teenage pregnancy and young parents
- carried out a number of in-depth evaluation interviews to understand the situation of teenage mums prior to pregnancy, their experiences during pregnancy and birth and post-natally
- facilitated the introduction of multi-agency partnership action groups across the county to improve the information we have about the cohort and how we can work together to improve outcomes.
Our approach to delivering the project has been to put the service users at the centre. We believe that rather than 'us' as professionals deciding what support should be put in place, we should actually ask young people what they need and want.
We've worked with volunteer young parents and consulted with others about what they are experiencing and what would make a positive difference to them. They have been involved at every stage, from the original project plan, to helping to decide on designs, to telling us what they would like to tell other young parents.
Using a partnership approach has also been important. Many organisations are working hard to create positive change and by working together we can make sure that we pool our resources to provide the best support we can. Part of that approach has been about creating opportunities for professionals to work together in action groups and another part has been about identifying how our work can support their priorities.
We now know about more young parents and parents-to-be in Leicestershire and have a greater understanding of their needs.
We have delivered around 200 baby boxes to pregnant teenagers.
Teenagers with Babies Action Groups are established across the county, with partner agencies meeting every six weeks to see how they can work together to best meet the needs of young parents in their local area.
The parentsunder20 and Becoming Dad websites have been viewed thousands of times and continue to be regularly accessed.
We have delivered training to hundreds of professionals and young people.
All of our volunteer young parents are now in full time learning or education and we are so proud to have supported them through advice and the opportunity to develop new skills.
Our work was highlighted in a recent Local Government Association report
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