Teenage pregnancy has been looked at as a controversial topic for decades. The trends and practices have indeed changed over time but one thing is still undebated: the young mothers and the babies born out of those pregnancies need optimal support to thrive and have the best chances in life.
Most teen pregnancies are unplanned with the young mother and father engaged in unsafe lifestyles which include, smoking, drinking and drug use.
Considering that most mothers delay the disclosure of the pregnancy, the pregnant mum often has delayed antenatal care with higher rates of health problems which may include pre-ecampsia and anaemia.
The young mothers often have acute psychiatric and situational crises with up to 25% of all teenage experiencing up to four housing shifts in the year before giving birth. The rates of depression, both antenatal and postnatal depression are higher in pregnant teenagers than they are in the rest of the population.
There are also social isolation issues stemming from a lack of adequate family support and lack of consistent social network as well as challenges in completing school. The young parents often have existing problems compounded by parenthood and/or pregnancy which also include relationship breakdowns with fathers, housing and risks of homelessness as well as a general detachment of normal teenage routine activities.
There are daily challenges that also take place and they involve:
Teenagers need support and that is where The Power Program comes in.
The Power Program assists pregnant and parenting young people to remain in or to re-engage with school. Young parents attend school classes while their children are cared for in on-site crèche. Weekly parenting programs and relationship education is provided. The child health nurse visits and baby checks are attended. Power stands for:
The POWER Program was established at Mabel Park State High School at the beginning of the 2001 school year as a result of needs identified by the school’s internal welfare committee and through consultation with the wider community. The community need is evidenced by the 160 young parents who have accessed the program since it began.
The goals of the Power Program are to:
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I was once a student at Mabel Park SHS and was apart of the POWER program. They helped me become a confident role model to my children and helped me believe in myself and I would be proud to refer people on to them.
Hi Sharna - thank you so much for posting. It is wonderful to hear from someone who has been part of the POWER program