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Former Neighbours star Madeleine West knows all too well the struggles and triumphs of teen parenthood. Her parents were just 16 when she was born.

“I’m the product of a teen mum,” Madeleine told Mouths of Mums. “My parents were very, very young when they had me and there can be a stigma attached to the notion of teen parenthood, yet it is a reality. It’s happening all around the world and all throughout Australia. But the best thing we can do is create the support network for these young people.”

It’s one of the many reasons she’s passionate about the programs offered by the Australian Red Cross to help young parents adjust to their new normal.

“I was there first-hand to witness my mum’s struggle. She had to sacrifice her own dreams to become a mother and there was no support network in place for her at the time, she did it tough. But now, thanks to programs like those offered by the Red Cross, it’s possible for these young people to still reach for the stars and become great parents.”

Madeleine West Red Cross Young Parents

Last week Madeleine was the guest speaker at the Red Cross Young Parents Program Recognition Ceremony. The program works with young parents to help them build their confidence and independence.

The program includes weekly parenting classes, life skills groups, child development services and playgroups.

“It offers support, capacity building and parent skill building. Some of these young people might not have a family support network around them to pass on the accrued knowledge. Teen parenthood is a reality, and the best thing we can do is ensure that young people have a support network to be their very best, and therefore create great role models for their kids.”

For more information on the Young Parents Program, head to Red Cross.

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  • Thank you for sharing her story with us.

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  • It’s a big committment.

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  • Good on her.

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  • How lovely!! We need more people like her out in the world.

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  • It’s nice to know there are still wonderful people out there willing to give their everything to help others.

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  • What a beautiful soul! Definitely sounds like a great program !

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  • A lot of young parents work very hard to be good parents, and deserve support.

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  • This is a great program for young parents to access and to show that a baby doesn’t have to ruin your life when you’re so young yourself. Not all kids have parents who are willing to help out if they fall pregnant early. We usually hear “How could you be so foolish”, “Getting pregnant so young has ruined your life”, and another famous one is “How could you do this to me”. That last one used to get me because your parents weren’t involved.

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  • A great thing for sure supporting those who need it

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  • What a great initiative. A number of my family members have had kids as teenagers and it would have been great for them to get this support. They were and still are lucky enough to have the support of my Aunty.

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  • It is a good initiative because many parents face difficulties at the start of parenthood specially when their parents are in other country or when they dont have any close family and friends.

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  • It’s nice when people can support a cause in need.

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  • Good on Madeleine for supporting this and sharing her own experience. And well done Red Cross. Always helping others.

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  • What a great initiative by the Red Cross and Madeline.

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  • Great initiative – it’s so good hearing actors getting behind these support systems.

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