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 young parents.
Some young people require little or no additional support, whereas others will need intense, targeted support. For all, it is essential we continue to put the young person at the centre of action to help them achieve their potential both as individuals and as parents.
The National Progress Report sets out progress against the Strategy's aims and actions for the period March 2016 to September 2017. It also sets out the next steps for the next period of implementation.
Rates of pregnancy in young people under 20 have seen a significant drop in recent years. The most recent data on conceptions in 2015 show that since 2007  ;
- rates in the under 20 age group have decreased by 43.8%
- rates in the under 18 age group have decreased by 52.1% and
- rates in the under 16 age group have decreased by 61%
However, a young woman living in Scotland's most deprived areas is five times more likely to experience a pregnancy as someone living in the least deprived and the most deprived areas have 13 times the rate of delivery compared to the least deprived  .
This is why the work of the Strategy is essential. Through supporting increased life chances, we can help all young people have the opportunity to plan for a positive future, whether that includes becoming a parent - or otherwise.
This first period of delivery of the ten-year Strategy has been about establishing effective working relationships, communicating the evidence and aims of the Strategy and determining the initial priorities for implementation, namely:
- Key Messages for young people on consent and healthy relationships
- Guidance for professionals to support young pregnant women and young fathers in their experience of maternity services
- Improving access to, and provision of, post-partum contraception
- Young Scot's digital resource on pregnancy and support for young parents
Local implementation has been taking place through the development of needs assessments and action plans.
From October 2017 – September 2018 we will also be taking forward a second set of priorities.
The PPYP Strategy Steering Group has identified two topics for focus, namely:
- Supporting young people with learning disabilities and other significant communication difficulties around healthy and safe relationships (including pregnancy prevention)
- Increasing education and learning through encouraging and supporting school attendance as an intervention for reducing the risk of pregnancy, and enabling young parents to engage in education during pregnancy and following delivery.
This work will take place whilst we also finalise the workstreams from the initial priorities, as well as continuing to support local areas in their implementation of the Strategy.
Firm foundations have been established in the first phase of implementation of the Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy which will enable its effective delivery over its ten year lifetime. Sharing progress, challenge and practice will be key to avoid duplication and encourage effective support for young people, across Scotland.