8.45 Pregnancy of a Child
Added July 2020
Date of next review July 2023
This is gender neutral policy. The following terms are used:
Birthing or pregnant person instead of woman
Person/people and they/them pronouns
- Introduction(Jump to)
- Pregnant person under 16 years of age(Jump to)
- Pregnant person over 16 years of age(Jump to)
All professionals have a responsibility to consider the welfare of both the prospective birthing person and their baby, any assessment of need should address what support systems exist for the young person and their family and should consider early help and support services, particularly where the person is a looked after child or care leaver themselves. 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 there are concerns about the ability of any young person to care for their baby without additional support, a referral must also be made to Children's Services -Making a referral
Any staff member being made aware of possible pregnancy are always encouraged to approach health colleagues for advice, this could include the school nurse or sexual health advisor for example. The briefing sheet below identifies where professionals can obtain further advice.
Pregnant person under 16 years of age
It is illegal for children under 16 years to be sexually active; professionals will assess whether the young person’s actions and decision making are Gillick competent and whether to involve safeguarding partners. Please refer to Sexually Active Children Policy
All professionals, particularly health and education staff who have most contact with pregnant teenagers, should be alert to situations where a teenage pregnant person is not in contact with local authority children's social care and a referral should be made at the earliest opportunity.
Children's Services should undertake an assessment of the unborn child's needs and any potential risk of harm posed to them from the pregnant person's needs and circumstances, including the pregnant person's relationship with the father / current partner and the parenting capacity of both.
Pregnant person over 16 years of age
If a young pregnant person is over 16, professionals should:
If, on the basis of these assessments, a professional has concerns about the ability of a young person over the age of 16 to care for their baby without additional support services, then a referral should be made to Children’s Social Care.