Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

New initiative to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy to go national

A Victorian early childhood and parenting program has been granted $615,000 under a Howard Government initiative designed to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson said today that the funding, under the Early Childhood – Invest To Grow program, will help to expand nationally the Core of Life ‘Pregnancy, Birth, Breastfeeding and Early Parenting’ Program based on the Mornington Peninsula.

“The Core of Life program aims to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy and assist teenagers who become pregnant to be better prepared by providing them with information about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting,” Senator Patterson said.

“Teenagers attend sessions which portray the reality of being pregnant, giving birth and having a baby.

“The Early Childhood – Invest to Grow program provides funding to extend established programs with a good track record in improving early childhood outcomes and develop programs that test innovative approaches to early childhood development.

“Part of the $365 million Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, the Early Childhood – Invest to Grow initiative was announced by the Prime Minister in April last year and is giving families, their children and communities the opportunity to build a better future.

“This funding will not only give young people the necessary skills to become better parents but will also help secure better futures for children from the earliest age.

“There is no doubt that early childhood development and experiences have a direct impact on future educational, career and health outcomes.

“Getting it right in the early years will help many to avoid reliance on welfare, substance misuse and becoming entangled in the criminal justice system,” Senator Patterson said.