Thursday, 14 October 2010

Advice for young mums under 16

Posted on by Action for Social Integration
Being a parent for the first time is a life changing experience for anyone, irrespective of their age, occupation, income, race or background.  Parenthood often requires taking proactive steps such as undertaking further training or education to improve your life chances and your child`s opportunities.  This article is designed to inform young mothers under the age of 16 about the services and advice opportunities that exist in their support. 
Legal rights and responsibilities
Any young parent under 16 has the same legal rights and responsibilities towards the child as any other parent.
Benefits and Tax Credits
Because of your age, you may not be legally eligible to claim benefits by yourself and may need to get claims done on your behalf, for example, by your mother.  If you live with your parents and they are claiming Child Tax Credit, both you and your child can be included in the claim. Your parents may also be able to claim a Social Fund Sure Start Maternity Grant for you and your child (however this is subject to change due to the new coalition government). To find out if you are eligible and how to apply, please follow this link.
Your parents can also include you and your child in their claim for Housing Benefit, if they claim one.
! Remember, it is best to remain at home as you may need to be at least 18 years old in some councils in order to be placed on the housing list and with a new born baby you need all the support and help you can get!
Another benefit available to you as a young mother is the Child Benefit which you can claim once the baby is born. Any parent who is bringing up a child can apply under this scheme, irrespective of their age. To apply please find in and print out the following application form and post it (along your child`s birth certificate) to: Child Benefit Office (Washington), Freepost, NEA 10463, PO Box 133, Washington NE38 7BR. For further assistance you can call the Child Benefit Helpline number: 0845 302 1444.
Benefit claims in these circumstances can be complicated and you or a parent should seek advice from an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB go on their website on:  www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
Vouchers for free milk, fruit and vegetables
If you are at least ten weeks pregnant, your parents can get vouchers for free milk, fruit and vegetables for you. It doesn’t matter what their income is.
Once you have had the baby, your parents can continue to get vouchers for you only if they get:
§  Income Support
§  income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
§  income-related Employment and Support Allowance
§  Child Tax Credit and have an annual income below a certain amount.
For more information on benefits for maternity and children, please visit this link.
Education
As a young mother under 16 you still have legal right to an education.  This means that your Local education authorities must ensure that you receive an education either through home tutoring, going to a special unit for teenage mums or additional support.  Please check with your local authority or click on the link below:
You are entitled to free education up until you are 18 years old or you can receive still receive free education after that if you are on benefits.
Housing
As a young mother you will not normally be able to obtain privately rented or council accommodation because you are too young to be granted a tenancy. However, you can contact the local authority social services department and ask it to find you accommodation, as long as your parents agree.
If you have housing problems you should consult an experienced adviser at a Citizens Advice Bureau which can be found through: www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
Maintenance
As a young mother, you can apply to the Child Support Agency for a maintenance assessment to be carried out in respect of your child. This applies if you are not living with the father of your child.  For more information visit the Child Support Agency website at: www.csa.gov.uk.
Where can young mothers under 16 find advice, guidance and support?
Baby Centre
Pregnancy and parenting website
Direct.Gov.
Sexual Health and Preventing Pregnancy
NHS
Pregnancy Section
 This article has been published in Issue 5 of Action for Social Integration’s Community Advice E-Newsletter, August 29th 2010

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Our Vision and Services

Our vision is of a society where no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health.

Mental health problems are extremely common across society, with one in four of us experiencing them in any year. Despite being so common, people from all communities will still experience discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that can prevent people from speaking out, seeking support and playing full and active roles in our communities. The impact of mental health stigma and discrimination will vary between communities as mental health has a cultural context that affects the way communities talk about the subject and engage with people who have mental health problems. In some cultures depression, for example, doesn't exist and in others an experience of a mental health problem can be attached to a sense of shame.

For the African and Caribbean communities a key issue is the overrepresentation of young African and Caribbean men in mental health services. Misconceptions and stereotypes have led to a perception that this group is more likely to pose a risk of violent behaviour and, as a result, they are more likely to be treated as inpatients and sectioned when compared to other groups. It is well documented that this has led to a fear of talking about mental health issues more openly and a fear of using mental health services. Research by the Race Equality Foundation (2011) also highlighted fears that discrimination against Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and migrant service users will increase in the austerity climate and whilst commissioning arrangements change.

Our Services

· Provide information, advice, advocacy

· Represent diversity communities in Health Care services, policies and strategies

· Organise training in health and social care in collaboration with local colleges

· Provide human resources ( including interpreters) who are suitable to the diversity communities especially to break language and cultural barriers

· Provides domiciliary care and support

· Provide services such specialised support for people with mental health needs, including people who suffer from short-term memory problems, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

· Provide visits to elderly people and help them with outings and home services

· Participate in local authority and NHS consultations , research events and programmes to voice the needs of diversity communities.

· Increase access to services and rights for disadvantaged people and the most vulnerable of our society

· Help and support unemployed people to look for work, including training and job preparation

· Provide legal advice in a range of issues from on Immigration and Asylum , welfare benefits, housing, health, education, community care, and training, employment, etc.

· Provide advice and guidance, information and practical help so that our service users can access opportunities they are entitled to

· Organise training and other community learning opportunities that provide new skills, increase confidence and motivation

· Support our service users to overcome barriers to learning, employment and training

· Provide support for young people with their education, training, confidence building, employment and social needs.

Objectives of our Diversity Living Programme:

· To promote the inclusion and participation of diversity communities* in integrated care.

· To inform policy, locally and nationally, and assisting in the formulation of effective policies, strategies and good practices in integrated care in order to contribute to improved health outcomes for the people from the diversity communities (e.g. Black and minority ethnic communities) and to ensure health services are able to meet their specific needs.

· To improve the quality of life for diversity people with disability, mental health problems and their families and carers through integrated care by providing inclusive advocacy and information.

· To provide service that enable diversity groups and individuals with disability /elderly and their carers to make the right choice for themselves and have an influence on decisions made about their future.

· To promote the rights of diversity people with disability, their families and carers and make sure their rights are safe and protected.

· To promoting access to information regarding healthcare issues and to raise awareness of the needs of diversity disabled children, young people, older people and their families.

· To promote the rights of older and disabled diversity people, helping them overcome and enable them to participate in decisions about their future

· To provide support and information to those suffering the isolation and loneliness that can be associated with disability and old age

· To fight against mental health stigma in refugee, black and minority ethnic communities and ensure no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health or disability.

*Diversity communities are older people, disabled people, Black, Asian, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and other ethnic minorities.