HYPE: Information for workers
During consultation with workers to identify pathways for pregnant and parenting students, workers identified a need for information so they could provide an effective and holistic approach to service delivery for pregnant and parenting teenagers.
Young women often present to agencies with a variety of requests and needs. Workers are therefore in a position to assist them to identify solutions that can make school retention easier with appropriate support.
The following information is aimed at supporting you to engage effectively with pregnant and/or parenting young women of school age:
- Setting the scene
- Does the young woman have support?
- Is the young woman accessing antenatal care?
- Does the young woman need financial assistance?
- Does the young woman need housing assistance?
- Does the young woman have health care support for her and her baby?
- Is the young woman still at school?
- Is the young woman accessing child care?
Setting the scene
Some helpful hints are:
- develop a good relationship with young mothers
- take some time to get to know her and if possible her children
- give her your card so she can ask for you to ensure that there is consistency in the service she receives wherever possible
- be honest with her, let her know that you don't know everything, but together you can explore this website for guidance and appropriate referral information if necessary
- if possible, provide written information for later reference
- remember that you may be the first professional she has made contact with, so use this as an opportunity to provide information on other relevant services in her area
Does the young woman have support?
Pregnancy and parenting can present a number of diffiulties. Young women may have limited support systems, depending on their circumstances. It's important for you to determine if the young woman has sufficient social, health and financial supports.
Consider asking some of the following questions:
- When you are having difficulties who do you talk to?
- Are you receiving support from your family?
- Who can you go to for support?
- Do you access any other services?
- Are you aware of other relevant agencies that are available to you?
- Do you have a youth worker or student counsellor that you trust?
- Do you have support from your friends?
If you consdier that the young woman is not receiving sufficient support encourage her to contact her local youth or community service. Here is a list of additional services that may be able to provide support:
- Aboriginal Family Support Service
- Nunkuwarrin Yunti
- Salvation Army
- St Vincent de Paul
- Women's Information Service
Is the young woman accessing antenatal care?
SHine SA's research shows that pregnant young women often don't access adequate antenatal care. Teenage mothers who attend less than eight visits are over five times more likely to have a low birth weight baby, so it's important to encourage young mothers to access antenatal care through their local GP, hospital or birthing program as soon as they are pregnant.
To determine whether the young woman is accessing adequate antenatal care, consider asking the following questions:
- Are you accessing antenatal services?
- How many visits have you had?
- Are you happy with the care you are getting?
Our research indicated that some young women were reluctant to access services that they thought would be judgmental or wouldn't meet their needs. Young women need to be advised that they have the right to change their health care provider if they are not happy with the service.
Does the young woman need financial assistance?
Young mums who are students are often not financially independent.
If they are not receiving financial support from their family they will need assistance. Consider asking some of the following questions:
- Are you receiving any financial support?
- Do you have enough money to support yourself and your baby?
Here is a list of additional services that may be able to provide support:
Does the young woman need housing assistance?
Sometimes pregnancy and parenting can bring about difficulties and the young woman may find herself without stable and safe accommodation. Consider asking some of the following questions:
- What is your current housing situation?
- Are you (and your child/ren) in a safe environment?
There are a limited number of options for young pregnant or parenting women and they are likely to require your support and advocacy to identify a solution. Here are some options as starting points:
- Community Housing Association
- Coolock House (supportive accommodation)
- Housing Advice and Support
- Louise Place (supportive accommodation)
- Residential Tenancies Tribunal
- Housing SA
Does the young woman have health care support for her and her baby?
It's important for the young woman and her baby to have adequate health care support services. These include a GP they feel comfortable with, Child and Youth Health Services, after hours emergency service access and immunisation services.
Here's a list of services that young women may wish to access for support:
- Australian Breastfeeding Association
- Child and Youth Health
- Helen Mayo House (for women with mental health problems following the birth of a baby - referred by a doctor or hospital unit)
- Parenting SA
- Women's and Children's Hospital
Is the young woman still at school?
Education can give young mums and their children the best opportunities in life. As a worker you are in an ideal situation to encourage and support them to remain or return to school. Ask the young women whether they are still at school or planning to return.
If they say no, consider asking these further following questions:
- What made you decide to not stay at school?
- Do you know that there is a range of schooling options, including studying from home or going to a school that supports young mums?
- What would enable you to return to school?
If you require further information contact the Department of Education and Children's Services. Some schools that offer creche facilities and/or young mums programs are:
Edward John Eyre High School (08) 8645 7677
Enfield High School (08) 8262 1468
Open Access College (08) 8309 3633
Para West Adult Campus (08) 8254 6300
Is the young woman accessing child care?
Young mums are often reluctant to access child care as it is too expensive and fear it may look as if they are not able to cope with mothering. Reality is, access to safe, affordable, quality child care options is critical for her to continue her studies. If the young woman is not accessing child care consider referring her to the Child Care Access Hotline on 1800 670 305.