5.28 Pregnancy of a Child
This section should be read in conjunction with Chapter 5.20 Pre-birth Child Protection Procedure and Chapter 5.6 Working with Sexually Active Young People.
All professionals have a responsibility to consider the welfare of both the prospective mother and her baby, any assessment of need should address what support systems exist for the young woman and her family and should consider early help and support services, particularly where the mother is a looked after child or care leaver herself. 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 mother to care for her baby without additional support, a referral must also be made to Surrey Children's Services - see Contacts and Referrals Procedure.
Mother under 16 years of age
All pregnant girls under the age of sixteen have by definition been involved in unlawful sexual activity and should be referred to Surrey Children's Services and also reported to Surrey Police Safeguarding Investigation Unit whenever abuse is suspected.
All professionals, particularly health and education staff who have most contact with pregnant teenagers, should be alert to situations where a teenage mother is not in contact with local authority children's social care and a referral should be made to Surrey Children’s Services at the earliest opportunity in line with Chapter 4.5 Contacts and Referrals Procedure
LA children's social care should undertake an assessment of the unborn child's needs in line with Chapter 4.6 Assessment and any potential risk of harm posed to them from the mother's needs and circumstances, including the mother's relationship with the father / current partner and the parenting capacity of both
Mother over 16 years of age
If a young mother is over 16, professionals should:
If, on the basis of these assessments, a professional has concerns about the ability of a young mother over the age of 16 to care for her baby without additional support services, then a referral should be made to Surrey Children’s Services in line with Chapter 4.5 Contacts and Referrals Procedure