The Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy was published in March 2016 and is the first Scottish strategy focussing specifically on this agenda.
Although parenthood is a positive experience for many young people, it is associated with increased risk of a range of poor social, economic and health outcomes for some. The Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People (PPYP) Strategy aims to drive actions that will decrease the cycle of deprivation associated with pregnancy in young people under 18 and provide extra support for all of Scotland's young parents.
Some young people require little or no additional support, whereas others will need intense, targeted support. It is essential we continue to take a holistic approach and put the young person at the centre of action to help them achieve their potential both as individuals and as parents.
This is the second progress report for the Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy and provides an update on the priorities identified by the PPYP Steering Group up to the end of 2018/19, as well as actions within the Strategy itself. It also provides information on activity taking place across Scottish Government more widely that supports young people around pregnancy and parenthood.
The latest statistics show that pregnancies in young people aged under 20 are at their lowest level since reporting began in 1994.
The absolute gap in teenage pregnancy rates between the most and least deprived is narrowing. Rates of pregnancy have reduced across all levels of deprivation in recent years, with those in the most deprived areas falling more. However, those living in areas of highest deprivation still have pregnancy rates five times higher than those in the least deprived.
Children from households with a mother aged under 25 have particularly high relative and absolute poverty rates, which is why they have been identified as one of the priority families in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.
The Strategy makes clear the most effective, evidence based interventions for supporting young people around pregnancy and parenthood, national progress against which is set out in the report. It is essential that all partners work together to ensure that locally and nationally we are supporting young people to make their own, informed choices about their futures, including pregnancy and parenthood.
This second period of delivery has been about driving forward identified priorities and working with local areas, supporting their implementation of the Strategy.
The Scottish Government continues to prioritise the needs of young people around pregnancy and parenthood in young people. The work to implement the Strategy is ongoing and takes place in partnership with the numerous other policies across Government which are also considering the needs of young people in this area.
Over the next year the Strategy delivery will focus on the following 'next steps'.
Leadership and Accountability:
- We will continue to support local implementation through the provision of our 'awareness sessions', working to understand local need and delivery, and sharing examples of good practice.
Giving Young People More Control:
- We will be taking forward work on the development of age and stage appropriate key messages on healthy relationships and consent for professionals caring for and educating early stage and primary aged children.
- We will work in partnership with the 'Keys to Life' to support young people with learning disabilities and other significant communication difficulties around healthy and safe relationships.
Pregnancy in Young People:
- We will publish 'Getting Maternity Services Right for Young Parents' and the accompanying quick reference guide.
Parenthood in Young People:
- We will continue to work with young people and professionals to finalise and publish our guidance for supporting young pregnant women and young parents to remain in school.