Pregnancy and parenthood in young people: second progress report

Update on actions within the Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy.

Strand 4: Parenthood in Young People

Promoting positive attitudes to young parents

Online resources for young parents

Action 4.6 Agencies (national and local) webpages aimed at young people or young parents have information on support for young parents around social and health needs

Action 4.7 Develop a resource for young parents which provides up to date information and support on accessing welfare and includes help and support to understand their housing rights.

Young parents have said that one of the greatest challenges they face is the stigma and judgemental attitudes they experience because of their age.

Through funding from the Scottish Government's CYPFEI and ALEC fund, Young Scot has been working with a group of young parents to develop the 'Ping' resource for young parents. Linking to Actions 4.6 and 4.7, they have been challenging attitudes to young parents and developed, amongst other resources, the film 'What not to say to a young parent'.

Supporting Young Parents: Professionals Forum

Action 4.1 Ensure everyone working with young parents communicates effectively, across multiple services, putting the young parent(s) and their needs at the centre.

In November 2018, we held our first forum for professionals who work directly with young parents. This links to PPYP Strategy Action 4.1.

Supporting Young Parents: Professionals Forum 2018 was an opportunity for professionals who work directly with young parents to come together to identify the issues affecting Scotland's young parents, promote good practice and identify where expertise and learning can be shared.

Family Nurse Partnership

The Family Nurse Partnership programme provides intensive, nurse-led, home visiting support for first time young mothers in Scotland. Mothers aged 19 and under across most parts of Scotland and young mothers under 24 in some areas are offered FNP.

The Family Nurse Partnership blog was launched in April 2018 and provides information about the FNP programme FNP Blog.

To evidence the impact of FNP in Scotland, an Evaluability Assessment[9] was carried out to identify the best approach to use. This concluded that the use of a 'natural experiment' would be the best approach, through data linkage of Education, Health and Social care outcomes. This was externally commissioned in 2016 and will conclude by 2020

Alongside this, a qualitative evaluation was also commissioned, to look at the perceived value of the programme from clients, family nurses and wider stakeholders. The FNP Revaluation Report, published in June 2019, concluded that the perceived value of the programme included a range of factors that both identify and address social risk factors associated with being a young parent.

Young people not involved in FNP continue to receive support from universal health services, through health visiting which includes the Universal Health Visiting Pathway. The Pathway provides an opportunity for health visitors, children and their parents to build a strong relationship, in which health visitors can appropriately support families including acting as a gateway to other services. NHS Boards are currently implementing the Pathway and we expect full rollout by January 2020.

Social Isolation and Loneliness

Young parents have identified that feeling isolated and lonely can be one of the most challenging parts of being a parent as a young person;

In December 2018, the Scottish Government published its first national strategy for tackling social isolation and loneliness and building stronger social connections, A Connected Scotland. The strategy has four priorities: empower communities and build shared ownership; promote positive attitudes and tackle stigma; create opportunities for people to connect; and, support and infrastructure that fosters connections.

The Strategy recognises that social isolation and loneliness can affect people at all ages and stages of life, and acknowledges the particular vulnerability and needs of young parents in this area. As A Connected Scotland moves into its implementation stage, the needs of young parents in relation to isolation and loneliness will be further considered.

Support to control reproductive health and pregnancy spacing

Rapid, repeat pregnancy (i.e. within one year) is associated with an increase in adverse health outcomes. The provision of post-partum contraception to all women who wish to have it, provides women with the opportunity to control their reproductive health, planning their pregnancies in a way that is best for them.

Post-Partum Contraception

Action 4.4 Ensure all pregnant women aged under 20 are consulted about their contraception preferences antenatally and that these preferences are provided early in the post-natal period.

In order to increase women's access to post-partum contraception, a short life expert group was set up to consider the best approach to supporting improvements in universal post-partum contraception provision, linking to Action 4.4 of the Strategy.

To help increase access to and understand different practice models, Ayrshire and Arran and Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Boards have been funded to take forward 'post-partum contraception pilots'.

Building on the work of NHS Lothian[10], these pilots are intended to help set up universal access to post-partum contraception in these Board areas as well as providing learning and examples of practice for the rest of Scotland.

Education, training and employment

It is our ambition that no young woman has to leave education, training or employment as a direct consequence of a pregnancy.

Support for school aged young parents

Action 4.9 Local Authorities should develop guidance for schools to ensure that support and planning processes are in place to allow young people who become pregnant to remain in their own school.

PPYP Priority Work stream: Enable young people to engage in education during pregnancy and following delivery in their role as young parents (mother and fathers).

We are working with an expert group to take a 'Once for Scotland' approach and develop guidance to help schools ensure the support and planning processes are in place that allow young people who become pregnant or parents to remain in education. This links to Action 4.9 in the Strategy as well as being an identified priority for 2018/19.

A working group has been established to develop the guidance. Local Authorities who wish to use it will be able to amend the document with their own local policies and processes. As part of this work, we are talking to young parents to ensure that their voice is present throughout.

Next steps: 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.

Education Evidence Briefing

PPYP Priority Workstream: Increasing education and learning through encouraging and supporting school attendance as an intervention for reducing the risk of pregnancy.

In the Growing Up in Scotland study, mothers who were younger than 20 years when their first child was born were less likely to have a qualification at Higher Grade or above and more likely to be reliant on welfare benefits and tax credits than mothers who were older[11].

Supporting young parents to remain in education has the potential to increase their opportunities for employment and future earnings, increasing future life choices. In response to this work stream, Health Scotland are developing an evidence briefing which will look at what support or interventions would help young parents to stay in education, should they chose to do so. The briefing will focus on the research question of "What works to support young parents remain in education?"

The Briefing will provide a strong evidence base for the guidance and will be published on the Health Scotland website in 2019.


As part of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, the Scottish Government is developing the Parental Employability Fund. £12 million has been allocated over three years to provide the Fund, offering specific, targeted and integrated employability and up skilling support.

The fund is primarily targeted at 5 key groups - one of which is young parents (aged under 25 years). The fund will assist parents both in and out of work offering key worker support, and helping parents to access services including money advice and accredited job-specific training.

The Fund will be operational in 2019.

Childcare Funding

Flexible childcare is vital for young parents to help them stay in education, training or employment.

The Scottish Government and local authorities have committed to almost double the funded entitlement to early learning and childcare (ELC) from 600 to 1,140 hours from August 2020 for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds from the relevant start dates. This works out at around 30 hours of funded ELC a week over a school year, or 22 hours a week over a calendar year.

Local authorities have already started to "phase in" the expanded offer. The expansion planning guidance which was issued to local authorities in March 2017 made clear that plans for phasing should reflect the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation to ensure that families and communities who stand to benefit most from the expansion also benefit first. As a result of 'phasing in' the entitlement, over 11,000 2 to 5 year olds are already benefitting from more than 600 hours of funded ELC.

Funding Follows the Child will be introduced alongside the national roll-out of the expanded entitlement in 2020. Funding Follows the Child, which is 'provider neutral', is underpinned by a National Standard that all providers delivering the expanded hours - regardless of whether they are in the public, private or third sector, or childminders - will have to meet.

Further information on this and other sources of childcare support available to families, can be found on the Parent Club website at:


Action 4.5 Young parents should have the help and support they need to understand their rights in this area [access to housing].

Pregnant young women and young mothers make up about one in 25 of all applications for homeless assessments in Scotland[12].

Scotland's strong homelessness rights mean families are placed in temporary accommodation as a legal right, with 80% of this being within furnished social rent homes. Families with children and pregnant women should only be in B&B or similar accommodation for a maximum of seven days, before they are moved to either temporary or settled accommodation. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on new standards for temporary accommodation.

Ending Homelessness Together: A High Level Action Plan was published in 2018. The Action Plan sets out the actions necessary to end homelessness in Scotland, ensuring a personalised, tailored response to people's housing needs. Such an approach is invaluable to young parents and their families, to ensure they get the warm, secure housing they need amongst a community of their choice where they can access help and support.

Income Maximisation

Best Start Grant

Young parents aged under 18, or aged 18 or 19 and still dependent on their parent or carer, are amongst the families that qualify for the Scottish Government's new Best Start Grant (BSG). Payments of the Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grant commenced in December 2018. Qualifying young parents will receive £600 on the birth of their first baby, and £300 for any subsequent children. We have also introduced 2 further payments of £250 for each child at key points in their early years, around the time they start nursery and school. Applications for the Early Learning payment opened in April 2019, and for the School Age Payment in June 2019.

Best Start Foods

From 12 August 2019, Scottish Government will launch Best Start Foods. Families on low incomes, who qualify for Best Start Foods, will receive a Best Start Food payment card. The card will be phased in to replace the current UK scheme of Healthy Start Food Vouchers. The value will increase from £3.10 to £4.25 per week, the benefit is intended to support families on low income benefits with children up to 3 years old. The card will provide these families with further choices about where to purchase nutritious foods such as milk (including infant formula), fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, pulses and eggs.

Job Grant

The Scottish Government has committed to introducing a Job Grant for young people aged 16-24 years old (inclusive), who have been out of paid employment for six months or more.

The Job Grant will comprise of an one-off cash payment of either £250 or £400, the higher amount being payable to young people who have children. It aims to help meet the initial costs of starting work, which might include things like lunches and travel to work, supporting a smooth transition into employment for young people on low incomes. Consultation responses and what we heard directly from young people will inform further development of Job Grant policy.

Financial Health Check

Through the commitment in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, low income families can access free personalised advice on money matters, from claiming benefits and reducing household energy costs to accessing grants such as the Best Start Grant and the School Clothing Grant. The Financial Health Check service commenced on 1 November 2018 and is delivered by the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland.

Clients can access the service either over the phone on 0800 085 7145, or face to face in a local bureau. Backed by £3.3 million in funding over two years, it is estimated that at least 15,000 households a year will benefit from this service.

In line with the priority families set out in the Delivery Plan, young mothers aged under 25 are particularly encouraged to make use of the service.



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