Looked after children, care leavers and risk of teenage conception; findings from Wales: Summary of a National Response.

RESEARCH BRIEFING

Authors: Lyons, M., Couzens, Z., Craine, N., Andrews, S., & Whitaker, R. Year: 2016

Year: Jan 2016

Summary: 

Key messages for policy and practice
Welsh data demonstrate an elevated risk of teenage conceptions amongst looked after children and highlights the vulnerability of this group in Wales.
Service commissioners and providers across Wales should ensure accessible and appropriate services (in line with NICE guidelines) offering long acting reversible contraception for this group.
Currently there is no statutory requirement for social services in Wales to report on pregnancies amongst children in care. Service commissioners should consider adding both conceptions and pregnancy outcomes to reporting requirements in order to support improved service provision.
Sexual health outreach worker and school clinics should be developed in the areas of Wales where accessible sexual health services for young people do not currently exist.
Training of all health and social care professionals, including foster carers and staff of care homes working with looked after children, should include high standard validated training on sexual health. Training provision should be audited.

Looked after children nurses have a key role; they should have protected capacity to regularly advise and support young people on sexual health, act as links with other professionals, and also maintain their own
professional knowledge and competencies in sexual health especially contraception. Education about parenting skills should be available to all young parents from looked-after backgrounds.
The need for improved training and services on sexual health issues is also supported by the known vulnerability of looked after children to sexual abuse and exploitation, which was beyond the scope of these studies.