To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and the Interim Director of Public Health, and to consider and endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member on the proposed decision to approve the teenage pregnancy strategy.
1. Mr Scott-Clark introduced the report and outlined the process of drafting the strategy and the consultation which had taken place.
2. In discussion, Members made the following comments:-
a) disappointment was expressed that no mention had been made in the strategy of the work undertaken in 2007 by the County Council’s Select Committee on PSHE, and a view expressed that the current strategy should build on the work of the Select Committee and its recommendations, which had, at the time, influenced legislation. Mr Scott-Clark undertook to look back at the Select Committee’s report and ensure that the strategy referenced it appropriately. He assured Members that good progress had been made in recent years in reducing teenage pregnancy rates but there were still pockets of higher rates which needed to be addressed;
b) concern was expressed that the most current data available was from 2011/12. Mr Scott-Clark agreed that it was an ongoing frustration that national data was always a couple of years behind and that there was always some discrepancy between proxy data and national reporting. He reassured Members, however, that this did not cause any hindrance to the County Council establishing its strategy;
c) in response to a question about any bearing that the ethnic background of a young person might have on their likelihood of having a teenage pregnancy, Mr Scott-Clark explained that, although some cultural groups had a custom of becoming parents at a younger age, the status of a young person, eg being in care, was more important than ethnic background in assessing their chances of having a teenage pregnancy. Rates of teenage pregnancy were also linked to areas of deprivation;
d) although a family could often cope with supporting one baby born to a teenage parent, a second baby would be a bigger problem. Childcare costs and finding other facilities, such as workplace nurseries, would make supporting two babies too much of a challenge for many families. Mr Scott-Clark explained that services focussed on providing emotional support to young parents and that a key part of sexual health support services was geared to discouraging second or subsequent births. It was this education element which had been a key part of Kent’s success in reducing its teenage pregnancy rates; and
e) a certain amount of change would inevitably take place during the life of any strategy, and Mr Scott-Clark assured Members that there would be a process for reviewing the strategy as time passed, and that it would be adopted around the county by local Children’s Health and Wellbeing Boards. Continuous monitoring would also take place, and would be reported to the Committee, as reduction of teenage pregnancy rates was a public health performance indicator.
3. The Cabinet Member, Mr Gibbens, thanked Members for their comments and undertook to take account of them when taking a decision to approve the strategy. He agreed that ongoing monitoring was critical to the success of the strategy and offered to establish a working group of Members to monitor ... view the full minutes text for item 6