Monday, 12 January 2015

Becoming a young mother: Teenage pregnancy and parenting policy

an article by Naomi Rudoe (University of Westminster) published in Critical Social Policy Volume 34 Number 3 (August 2014)


As part of New Labour’s commitment to reducing social exclusion, their Teenage Pregnancy Strategy (1999–2010) aimed to reduce teenage conceptions in England and Wales and to increase the participation of young parents in education, employment and training.

The Coalition government, while discontinuing the Strategy, has increased the focus on early intervention, parenting and targeted support for ‘troubled families’.

This article examines teenage pregnancy and parenting policies in the context of an alternative educational setting for pregnant young women and mothers. Young women and staff in this setting held complex attitudes towards the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and towards parenting interventions and ideas about ‘good’ motherhood.

The data demonstrate both resistance to and support for such policy interventions, as well as a contested and unstable notion of the ‘good mother’.

The article argues that parenting education needs to be sensitive towards structural inequalities and difficulties rather than purely focusing on behaviour change.

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