THE NUMBER of teenagers getting pregnant in Worcestershire has fallen by more than a half in a year and is at its lowest level since 1998.
A total of 41 girls under the age of 18 got pregnant between March and June last year, which compares to 83 recorded over the same period 12 months earlier.
The new data from the Office of National Statistics also revealed the recent figure beats the previous lowest of 49 in September 2013.
Since teenage pregnancy rates were recorded in 1998, the quarterly figures have risen to as high as 109 in March 1999 and March 2008 and exceeded 100 on six other occasions.
But between June 2014 and June 2013, the amount of girls getting pregnant was 199, which is 75 less than the previous year and Coun Marcus Hart, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for health and well-being, described the teenage pregnancy rates as one of the biggest ‘success stories’ of the last decade.
“The numbers of teenage conceptions across the county are amongst the lowest for a number of years,” he said.
“The work we have undertaken has been informed by a range of national evidence of what does and does not work.
“High quality sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools and having young person friendly accessible and effective contraception are the two key factors.
“Targeting those young people most at risk of teenage pregnancy such as NEETs, young people excluded from school, children in and leaving care and those in supported housing, has also proved effective.
“In addition we also commission the highly regarded Time 4 U service specifically for young people, which is provided in a variety of settings such as schools, colleges and health centres as well as outreach.”
However, Coun Hart insisted there was still work to be done to ensure young people are empowered to make choices about family planning.
“To support teenage mothers, a new Family Nurse Partnership programme commenced in Worcestershire this year,” he added.
“The programme offers intensive support to first time teenage mothers from family nurses.
“The first young women to receive the new service commenced on September 1.”
Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, added: “This is very welcome news. Campaigns run both through schools and the county council are clearly working well.”