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2.2.41 Pregnancy and Motherhood for a Child

Contents

  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Mother under 16 years
  3. Mother over 16 years


1. Introduction and Overview

This section should be read in conjunction with Working with Sexually Active Young People Procedure and Safeguarding Children Abused through Sexual Exploitation Procedure.

Professionals have a responsibility to consider the welfare of both the prospective mother and her baby. However, the paramount concern must be for the welfare of the baby, and there should be no circumstances in which concerns about the baby are not shared and investigated for fear of damaging a relationship with a young parent.

Where a parent is herself a child, in the absence of support for her needs and responsibilities, her baby could suffer Significant Harm, primarily through neglect or emotional abuse. See Recognition of Significant Harm Procedure.

Significant harm is defined as a situation where a child is likely to suffer a degree of physical harm which is such that it requires a compulsory intervention by child protection agencies into the life of the child and their family.


2. Mother under 16 years

Professionals in all agencies should be alert to situations where a teenage mother is not in contact with LA children's social care. If she is under 16, then a referral should be made to LA children's social care at the earliest opportunity, in line with the Referral Procedures. See also Working with Sexually Active Young People Procedure.

Health and education professionals are most likely to have contact with pregnant teenagers.

LA children's social care should undertake an assessment of the unborn child's needs (see Pre-birth Procedures Procedures) and any potential risk of harm posed to them from the mother's needs and circumstances, including the mother's relationship with the father / current partner


3. Mother over 16 years

If a young mother is over 16, professionals should:

  • Make an assessment of the risk of harm to the baby, consulting their agency's child protection adviser as appropriate;
  • Assess the risk of harm to the mother through her relationship with the father / current partner.

If, on the basis of these assessments, a professional has concerns about the ability of a young mother over the age of 16 to care for her baby without additional support, then a referral should be made to LA children's social care in line with the Referrals Procedure

End