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North Yorkshire teenage pregnancy rates fall to lowest level

PregnantTeenage pregnancy rates have fallen to their lowest level in North Yorkshire since 1998 when the local authority first began its teenage pregnancy reduction strategy.

Figures released today show that under-18 teenage pregnancy rates in North Yorkshire have fallen by nearly 44 per cent since the 1998 baseline, compared to a national reduction of 24 per cent. The rate in Selby fell by over 60 per cent. The latest set of figures show a fall of over 20 per cent between 2009-10 in North Yorkshire compared to 7.3 per cent nationally. The under 16 rate has fallen by nearly 26 per cent since 1998 compared to a national reduction of 7.5 per cent during that time.

The county council’s Children and Young People Service says the figures reflect effective and targeted work and a multi-agency approach to reducing the rate of teenage pregnancy. This has had a significant impact across the county, with particular success in Scarborough where rates between 2009-10 fell by over 17 per cent The Scarborough rate has fallen from being consistently and significantly above the national average to marginally above the national average.

Reducing risky behaviour through the schools and youth service has been identified as a key priority by the Children’s Trust Board in North Yorkshire and this work has been applied in a number of ways, including:

Improving the quality of information that young people receive about sex and relationships ensuring it is age appropriate and accurate

Training staff who deliver key messages to young people about self esteem and resisting pressure to be sexually active

  • Improving access to sexual health services including setting up young people’s drop-in services.
  • Baby think it over programme – using computerised dolls as a tool to discuss parenting
  • Targeted programmes with boys and young men around relationships, respect and role models
  • Targeted work with key groups of at risk young people including looked after children and young people who disengage from school
  • Targeting teenage pregnancy “hotspot” wards to ensure there are services available for young people in those areas.
  • Secondary schools providing targeted work for young people at risk of unsafe sexual activity

County Councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools and the Youth Service said:

The latest statistics on teenage pregnancy rates are very good news for the young people of North Yorkshire and for local authority and multi-agency staff who have worked so very hard to support young people to make the right choices.

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