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Exploring young women’s perspectives of a targeted support programme for teenage parents
  1. Grant James McGeechan1,
  2. Michelle Baldwin2,
  3. Keith Allan2,3,
  4. Gillian O’Neill2,
  5. Dorothy Newbury-Birch1
  1. 1 School of Health and Social Care, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK
  2. 2 Child and Adult Service, Public Health, Durham County Council, Durham, UK
  3. 3 Department of Public Health, NHS Borders, Melrose, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Grant James McGeechan, School of Health and Social Care, Teesside University, Middlesbrough TS1 3BX, UK; g.mcgeechan{at}


Context Teenage parents and their children are at risk of poorer outcomes than older mothers, and their peers.

Objective Evaluate participants' experiences of a targeted teenage parent support programme.

Design A qualitative study was conducted to gain feedback from participants of a locally commissioned teenage parent support programme. Four focus groups were held with participants attending the programme in different areas of the county, and analysed using applied thematic analysis.

Participants Teenage mothers aged 16–19 years from vulnerable backgrounds (n=18) attending a teenage parent support programme in County Durham.

Results Two major themes emerged from the analysis focusing on factors influencing enrolment and continued engagement and how the programme leads to personal development for mother and child.The majority of participants felt that the group fostered a supportive environment and led to a reduction in social isolation. The provision of free transport and childcare onsite was seen as a key component of the service without which many would not have been able to attend.

Discussion The programme appeared effective at increasing the emotional and social capabilities of teenage mothers. It had a positive impact on parents’ engagement in education and employment, as well as impacting on children’s social development.

Conclusions Targeted support programmes have the ability to increase social and emotional capabilities of teenage mothers and their children. They can increase engagement in education and employment for teenage mothers. The provision of transport and free child care places can enhance engagement in such programmes.

  • teenagers
  • sex education
  • service delivery
  • health education
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  • Contributors GJM contributed to the design and implementation of the evaluation and was involved in all aspects of data collection and analysis and drafting the manuscript. MB contributed to the design and implementation of the evaluation, was involved in data collection and analysis and provided comments on the final manuscript. KA, GON and DNB contributed to the design of the evaluation and commented on the analysis and the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors would like to acknowledge support for this study by Durham County Council who funded it as part of a larger series of public health service evaluations.

  • Competing interests The following authors are or were employed by Durham County Council who commissioned this evaluation: KA, GON and MB.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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