A wide range of health and support services is available to support young mothers or teenagers who are pregnant.
Young parents who are homeless may be entitled to additional support from their local authority. For more information, see the page on priority need.
If a young parent is provided with accommodation by children’s services and becomes a ‘looked -after’ child, it does not follow that their child will also be in the care of children’s services. This will depend on an assessment the needs of the infant.
The council should consider any pregnant woman to be in priority need and, if homeless or about to become homeless, entitled to emergency temporary accommodation. See the section Applying as homeless.
Some local authorities (and partner organisations) can provide specialised accommodation for young mothers to enable them to live independently while at the same time receive support and advice. Some will cater for members of a particular community, such as black and ethnic minority women, or clients with more challenging support needs, such as women with substance abuse issues and ex-offenders.
Local authorities and local housing providers will also provide ‘one-stop-shop’ support for pregnant teenagers, often through dedicated websites and advice services.
Help and advice is also available to support teenage fathers.
Young women who are due to give birth while in custody may be able to apply for a space in a mother and baby unit when they enter prison. These are dedicated facilities in a separate part of the prison, where a mother can keep her baby with her for the first 18 months.
Young women who think they may be pregnant should visit their GP, family planning clinic or young people’s contraceptive service as soon as possible for further advice and information.
Most local authority websites will have information signposting to services in their region.
Additional benefits will be available to pregnant young people. Those on a low income and in receipt of other benefits such as JSA can apply for a Sure Start Maternity Grant, which is a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the cost of maternity and baby items, and which does not have to be paid back. Pregnant women who are working may also be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).
Gov.uk - Sure Start Maternity Grant
If a pupil cannot attend school because of pregnancy, the local education authority still has a duty to provide suitable alternative education. Schools are not permitted to use pregnancy or health and safety concerns as a reason for exclusion. Schools should keep young mothers on the school roll, even if they may not be able to attend for a while (a period of 18 weeks authorised absence can be arranged to cover the school time missed just before and after the birth of the child. Some education authorities will provide tuition during this period).
The school should also work with young mothers to find a suitable time to re-integrate them back into school, and should also support male pupils who become fathers while still at school to help them continue their education. Some local authorities may also be able to provide a place at a Young Mum’s unit or similar, where childcare is provided to support young parents to continue their studies. These units work in partnership with local schools and follow the GCSE curriculum.
Local authorities have specialist services, often as part of children’s centres or young parents’ groups or similar, or offered by partner organisations such as Connexions or the YMCA, to assist young parents into further education, training and employment.
Support is also available through the government’s Care to Learn scheme, which could pay up to £160 per child per week (up to £175 for young people living in London) towards childcare and travel costs while a young person is learning.