Press Release

Hanafin highlights Government support for teenage parents

“Teen mothers in Ireland face significant barriers in achieving realistic goals for life after pregnancy. Extra or different care in the form of medical, psychological and emotional support is a necessity, and we are making significant progress in this area” said Minister for Children, Ms. Mary Hanafin T.D., today (Wednesday, September 26, 2001)

Minister Hanafin was speaking in Dublin Castle at the Annual General Meeting of Treóir, the national co-ordinating body for voluntary and statutory agencies which provide services for unmarried parents and their children.

Minister Hanafin specifically highlighted the Teenage Parenting Support Pilot Projects which have been established in Galway, Limerick and Dublin, as a means of addressing the issue of teen parenting.

“The main objective of these projects has been to provide one-to-one support for and enhance the general well-being of post-natal teens. These projects are helping us to identify the specific needs of young parents, as well as the gaps in the services available to them,” the Minister explained.

“Particular attention is given in the Teenage Parenting support projects to engaging all front-line services such as public health nursing, GPs, schools, community support and social work services. Where weaknesses are identified, the project will develop new services to meet the needs of each teen parent,” she added.

“These pilot projects are undergoing evaluation and, following a final report due in June 2002, it is proposed that the projects be expanded to all Health Board areas.”

Minister Hanafin praised the commitment of teen parents in being good mothers, and identified their increasingly strong motivation to continue in education, with a view to maximising their own chances in life.

Also, the Minister stressed the need for fathers to be involved in the lives of their children, and emphasised that services needed to be aware of the specific needs of such fathers.

In conclusion, Minister Hanafin said “Treóir are currently compiling an extremely useful national directory with information on social welfare, legal and local services for teen parents. I am looking forward to these directories being widely available so that young parents have ready access to the information on services they require at local level.”