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Teenage mothers.

Eddie Mair | 12:03 UK time, Monday, 16 November 2009

Terry Stiastny writes: "One of the more controversial ideas in Gordon Brown's speech to his party conference this year was the plan for teenage mothers to be put in a "network of supervised homes" rather than given a council flat. Some critics compared the idea to the Victorian workhouse.

Some hostels for young parents already exist -- including the network of Foyers run by housing associations for homeless young people."

You can hear Terry's report in PM tonight. For the Blog she writes: "Here are Amber and her son Riley, who live at the Barking and Dagenham Foyer, as featured in my piece. Riley thought the microphone was very funny, but mostly tried to eat it."





  • 1. At 1:32pm on 16 Nov 2009, lizardzwizard wrote:

    The supervised homes sounds like a great idea - give the young people and their babies support, assistance, advice and a friendly shoulder when needed, help them to help themselves instead of isolating them on their own in a small flat to cope as best possible. Unless needless bureaucracy takes over and turns this good idea into a watered-down version which creates more problems than it solves - but surely not, after all, the government has such a good track record, does it not?!

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  • 2. At 1:38pm on 16 Nov 2009, vainly_here wrote:

    I think the age of consent includes teenagers, so our lawmakers should expect there to be teenage parents. Mrs. Thatcher tried to impose responsibility on the fathers, but with little success.

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  • 3. At 1:39pm on 16 Nov 2009, vainly_here wrote:

    P.S. A network of supervised homes is what we need for our MPs to use in London. Isn't that what they have in Sweden?

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  • 4. At 2:10pm on 16 Nov 2009, Fifi wrote:

    My worry is that 'care homes' sound like a great idea too - it's in the reality of making such a thing work within tight resources that the difficulties arise.

    Still, the present system plainly isn't serving society well. At least a fresh look might shake us all out of our assumptions.

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  • 5. At 2:57pm on 16 Nov 2009, vainly_here wrote:

    Am I still with the moderators? Must have been referred by a UK MP.

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  • 6. At 3:02pm on 16 Nov 2009, steelpulse wrote:

    I make it my business to stay away from sensitive subjects like this - yup. A big un-opinitated wuss me!
    But - teenage mothers - I understand. I can look and think how happy young Riley looks. I expect that microphone would prove more digestible than that goose fat eaten this morning. "Burp!" Pardon! I'm mortified!

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  • 7. At 3:43pm on 16 Nov 2009, DoctorDolots wrote:

    5. Vyle Hernia - Why an MP? Why not anyone?
    It wasn't me, despite finding your foreign take on our country irritating, I never refer anything to the mods, I believe in free speech.

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  • 8. At 3:47pm on 16 Nov 2009, DoctorDolots wrote:

    The main problem with teenage mothers is they are inevitably going to be poorly educated, and add to the pool of benefit dependents. Without intervention of some kind, they will go on to a 2nd 3rd and 4th pregancy, their benefit rising with each child until there's no way back, no jhob they could do would earn as much as the benefit they receive. Some contraceptive education and advice would be a start.

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  • 9. At 3:53pm on 16 Nov 2009, vainly_here wrote:

    DD (7) I never thought you were an MP. The post referred to the mods was about providing accommodation for our elected reps while in London.

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  • 10. At 4:34pm on 16 Nov 2009, annasee wrote:

    What a beautiful baby and beautiful young mother. How heartbreaking to realise that they presumably have no family support of any kind, as otherwise they wouldn't be living in the hostel for homeless parents. Thinking back to the incredibly tiring and demanding early days of parenthood myself, I am sure that this sort of situation must be an improvement on the isolated council flat set-up for young parents. I will listen to the report with interest. Thanks for the photos Terry.

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  • 11. At 4:59pm on 16 Nov 2009, Thunderbird wrote:

    If you needed a licence to have a baby then the would be no problem

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  • 12. At 5:00pm on 16 Nov 2009, AllotmentJo wrote:

    8 - DoctorDolots. My daughter gave birth to my lovely grandaughter while only 17 and still at Grammer School. She took 6 weeks out of school to have her baby, then returned and got a grade 'B' and 2 'A''s at A level.It was a fight to make the school keep her there. While I agree that many teenage mum's are poorly educated, it is a bit of a sweeping statement to say that all teenage mum's have not benefitted from a good education. My daughter was lucky in that she had her entire family's support. The only real barrier for these mum's to become self-supporting, is the lack of affordable childcare. The minimum you need to be earning, with a child in full-time care, we estimate to be around 25 grand per year. Otherwise, it's just not possible.

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  • 13. At 5:01pm on 16 Nov 2009, davmcn wrote:

    VH 9, OK, come clean, just where are you from? Are you, like myself, a rude furriner? Where do you get off telling Brits how their country should be run? Huh,HUH?! Everybody here knows that I'm from the US, but have been in GB off and on since 1970 and permanently since 1984. So I feel as 'British' as the next person. Unless the next person is an illegal immigrant, that is. I even used pounds, shillings, and pence my first year here.

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  • 14. At 5:02pm on 16 Nov 2009, davmcn wrote:

    I opened the window and shouted at some young mothers to get off our grass.

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  • 15. At 5:03pm on 16 Nov 2009, davmcn wrote:

    Read 14 quick before somebody complains.

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  • 16. At 7:26pm on 16 Nov 2009, annasee wrote:

    AllotmentJo, you are so right about the difference family support makes. Years ago, friends of ours found out their son's girlfriend was pregnant, at 16. The girl had the baby, went back to school, both families helped out with child care even though the couple didn't stay as a couple. The girl later qualified as a nurse,and has ended up very successfully running a big nursing home which she owns. She married, had other children, and the son who was that first baby has now completed his university education and works all round the world. All the family stay in touch and he is a much loved grandchild and son. If there hadn't been that constant loving support from all sides, and the emphasis on completing education, I'm sure the outcome could have been very different.

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  • 17. At 7:37pm on 16 Nov 2009, AllotmentJo wrote:

    Annasee, don't you think rather too much is made of teenage mums? I'm sure that most who find themselves in this predicament do have the support of their family. Unfortunately the tabloids pick up on the few who exploit the system and 'Hey Presto! All teenage mums are the same. I am one of five children, the 2nd. The first one , my older sister, my mum gave birth to when she was just 18. When she got married in 1950, she was 4 months pregnant. Not a lot has changed, really! My daughter has just started a degree course to become a physiotherapist, and my little grandaughter is just about to go to bed after beating her grandad at chess.

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  • 18. At 8:06pm on 16 Nov 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #14. davmcn
    I'm not surprised, they should keep off grass until the children are weaned at least.

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  • 19. At 08:30am on 17 Nov 2009, pmmolly wrote:

    In my opinion, for what it's worth, many of these young mothers experience low self - esteem which cannot be improved by placing them in care homes.
    Small units on a temporary basis following the birth would seem better to me.The big step of accepting the huge responsibility of a child ,is ultimately the aim and a suitable home for the (small ) family is required.I cannot believe that it is a good idea to expect anyone to thrive, least of all a tiny baby, in a care home .
    None of these alternatives can beat the support from within the mother's family. But thhis does not always manifest itself. Sadly.

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  • 20. At 08:36am on 17 Nov 2009, pmmolly wrote:

    annassee (16)
    Fabulous story! Heartwarming.


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