Pregnancy at an early age can be really positive for some young people. It can be a planned choice and a new beginning. For others it can increase the likelihood of poverty and reduce or compromise life chances, and this cycle can then repeat from one generation to the next. This inequality in young people is something that is not inevitable. It can be improved by continuing to work together to help all young people achieve their aspirations and ambitions.
Over the past six years the rates of pregnancy in young people in Scotland have been reducing consistently. This reflects the hard work of professionals and our approach of using evidence-based and effective interventions aimed at young people. However, we cannot be complacent. We need to continue to work collaboratively in order to narrow the gap in inequalities, to ensure young people have equality of opportunity and access, in a positive and supportive culture.
Pregnancy in young people is a complex matter, and supporting young people requires many different agencies to work together both at a national and local level. We know change in this area cannot be achieved by health interventions alone. That is why this Strategy aims to better acknowledge the role that deprivation, inequality and lack of aspiration and opportunity can have. The impact that Community Planning Partnerships can make for young people, particularly with regard to their role in supporting young people to stay connected with education, training or employment, and supporting young parents around health and social care and housing, has never been more important. Working in this connected way on the real underlying causes of pregnancy and parenthood in young people can ensure that we will get it right for every young person.
Through the development of the Strategy we heard from lots of young people on what was important to them, what they liked and what they would like to see change. It is vital that we continue to listen to young people throughout the implementation of the Strategy to ensure we are continue to meet their needs and support them to achieve all they can be. We commit to doing that.
Minister for Children and Young People
Minister for Public Health
Email: Ruth Johnston