Young Parents Project


This project focuses upon young parents whose children are/have been subject of Children's Services intervention – whether as children in need, children deemed at risk or as children placed in care.

The overarching aim is to enable more young parents to keep their children safely with them. The project, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and by Tudor Trust, will be looking at the experiences and needs of young parents up to the age of 30 years.

The ambitious project which began in June 2015 and will run for 18 months, is a timely response to:-

  • Evidence indicating that young parents with multiple needs are particularly in jeopardy of losing their children. Recent research on mothers subject to recurrent removal of their child has identified that a significant proportion are under 19 years of age [1].
  • Family justice reforms which require speedier decisions to be made, with young parents now being required to prove their parenting capacity within shorter timescales, often without an established support network in place to help them;
  • The recognition that young parents may themselves have been in the care system as children and may be particularly anxious or even distrustful of working with professionals.

The project will be steered by an advisory panel made up of young parents, academics and practitioners. Project activities will include:-

  • Convening a Young Parents Panel designed to give young parents a national voice;
  • An action research project involving interviews and focus groups with young parents as well as with those practitioners working with them e.g. social workers, solicitors, barristers, health visitors, midwives;
  • A desktop review of research and good practice models relating to this group of parents (to contribute to the call for evidence please click here);
  • Developing easy to access, easy to use, online information for young parents about their rights and options;
  • Specialist advocacy services for 180 young parents to help them to negotiate with different agencies and professionals;
  • Providing specialist training to individuals working within youth organisations to equip them to be able advocates for young parents within the child protection system;
  • A project report to be disseminated in May 2016 with a national conference in June 2016.
  • Wider influencing and campaigning on behalf of young parents at a national level.

If you are a young parent aged up to 30, and Children’s Services are involved/have been involved with your child/children, you can access advice and some advocacy support by completing the REFERRAL FORM HERE. We also welcome referrals from practitioners working with young parents.

Information for Young Parents           

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Information for Young Practitioners

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[1] Harwin, J & Broadhurst, K (2014). Analysis of Cafcass applications data 2007-2013 (unpublished).

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