Practitioners’ messages

● Looked-after children and young people are at greater risk of early pregnancy and social disadvantage than other groups. The prevention of teenage pregnancy among looked-after children and young people therefore poses particular problems and may have significant beneficial outcomes.

● The principal risk factors associated with teenage pregnancy are to be found more often in the looked-after population than among children and young people who are not in care.

● Strategy and policy documents regarding services and practices to reduce teenage pregnancy in general are available, but there is little on looked-after children.

● Access to good quality educational materials on sex and relationships has been demonstrated to reduce levels of teenage pregnancy. Looked-after children and young people are known to have less access to good quality and consistent sources of education and advice on sex and relationships than many other children and young people.

● Research and policy literature currently focuses on the provision of appropriate and adequate education on sex and relationships, in conjunction with accessible contraceptive services as the means of reducing teenage pregnancy. The limitations of school-based programmes for looked-after children are widely recognised additional sex and relationship education is therefore recommended.

● Authorities that consult young people and develop specialist sexual health services for young people have greater success in reducing teenage pregnancy.


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