15 Improve outcomes for teenage parents
What the Committee said:
"The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts in order to provide adolescents with appropriate reproductive health services, including reproductive health education, in school."
Progress to date
- One of the main aims of the Family Nurse Partnership Programme is to improve the economic self-sufficiency of the family and to reduce their reliance on welfare benefits. Focussing on their aspirations, both for themselves and their children, it allows them to explore opportunities to create a better life for themselves through employment, work experience and/or education. An anticipated outcome of the programme is for young parents to plan future pregnancies, and to space these better. Guidance on good sexual health practices, including contraception, is included in the programme the Family Nurses deliver. Information on roll out of the approach is included under priority action area 9.
- The needs of teen parents continue to be prioritised through the Scottish Government's 'Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework 2011-15'. The Scottish Government approach is to support a more targeted multi-agency approach to reach those most likely to have poor sexual health outcomes.
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland published sexual health service standards in 2008 to support Respect and Responsibility and all NHS Boards were visited and reviewed during 2011 on their progress in implementing the standards. All boards were found to have met the three standards relevant to this group, namely:
- There is evidence of active engagement of local key partners including health, education, social work, youth services and the voluntary sector, to improve sexual health for young people and reduce teenage pregnancy.
- There are targeted interventions in place for young people at greatest risk of teenage pregnancy and poor sexual health, including looked-after children.
- The NHS Board supports the delivery of sex and relationship education training for professionals in partners' organisations such as youth workers and social workers, who work with the most vulnerable young people.
- All local authorities in Scotland are delivering age-appropriate relationship, sexual health and parenthood education in their schools through Curriculum for Excellence. This education could include topics such as puberty, how to access sexual health services, sexually transmitted infections, contraception, and the complex role of being a parent. Young people will be encouraged to discuss these subjects with their peers and parents, to help them gain knowledge, and the skills to become confident in making healthy lifestyle decisions for themselves.
- We published 'Safe and Well', a national handbook for staff, school and education authorities involved in the care and welfare of children and child protection in 2005. More recently national guidance on child protection was launched in December 2010, and we will soon be looking at what support is most suitable for education staff - in terms of equipping them with the knowledge and understanding of what to look out for and how to take their concerns further.
- We have established the Additional Support for Learning Advisory Group made up of key stakeholders representing local government, voluntary sector, teaching unions and service providers to inform our future policy development and inform our plans to improve practice.
- We will continue to monitor progress in relation to the actions set out in the 'Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework 2011-15' through annual visits to boards during the lifetime of the Framework.
- We will develop, in partnership with key stakeholders, a long-term plan to support the implementation of the additional support for learning legislation which will be published in summer 2012. The plan will incorporate work already underway in related policies to improve services and will incorporate the work of the Advisory Group over the next two years to improve services through strategic approaches.