Background Looked After Children (LAC) are over-represented in the population of teenage mothers1. A local report indicated that the highest proportion of these in an inner-city London Borough were Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) 2.
Aim To determine the socio-demographic profile of the teenage mothers within the UASC population of this borough.
To determine any differences in the socio-demographic profile between UASC who became teenage mothers compared to those who did not.
To inform relevant delivery of social care to this population.
Methods Retrospective case file analysis of all female UASC records held from 2004 to 2011 by Children and Young People's Services. Anonymised data analysis using SPSS statistical software; Kruskal-Wallis test/chi-squared test, and t-tests.
Results UASC contributed to 20% of teenage LAC mothers. Of female UASC assigned to the Unaccompanied Minors Team, 19/211 (9%) became mothers under the age of 18 and of the teenage mothers 12/19, (63%) originated from West and Central Africa (n= 80). There were no teenage mothers originating from East Africa (n= 107). Of mothers with recorded date entering care, 10/13 (77%) were pregnant prior to being accommodated. UASC mothers were as likely to attend college or university as the other female UASC. Statistically significant links were found for; country of origin (p=0.006), older age entering care (p=0.002), shorter time in care (p=0.041), and more addresses in care (p=0.009).
Conclusion Most teenage motherhood occurred in girls originating from West and Central Africa and were initiated prior to the children becoming accommodated; with implications for safeguarding interventions in this population. UASC mothers were as likely to complete higher education as other UASC despite being older when they were accommodated and moving address more. These issues need further exploration for the LAC population as a whole.