'You would never do this for money': The teenage mother

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DONNA was 15 when her boyfriend asked her to have his baby, writes Mary Braid. Within a few months she was pregnant and shortly afterwards she left school. 'I got pregnant for him,' she explains. 'I just loved him. It was nothing to do with wanting to jump the housing list.'

Today, she and her six-month-old boy share a north London hostel with seven other teenage girls and their children. She and her 18-year-old boyfriend parted company when she was pregnant but he occasionally sees his son.

Donna says her single-parent mother was annoyed about her pregnancy but has now accepted it.

'When I was pregnant, my mum and I just didn't get along. So I got a social worker and asked to go into care. I was with a foster family and then I came here. It isn't that uncommon to have a baby at my age around here. One girl at school was 14. I don't regret it. My baby is brilliant and I am happy but I don't trust boys now. They don't do anything for you.'

She is starting a catering course at college, during which social services will pay for child care.

Her housemate Catherine, 17, who has a three-month-old daughter, dismisses as 'a lot of bull' ministers' suggestions that girls get pregnant to secure their own homes.

'This is a full-time job. I was much better off when I was studying and living at home. Now my baby and I live on pounds 73 a week. It's really hard. The baby's father tries to help but he is on the social himself and can't get a job. I got pregnant by mistake. You would never do this for money.'

The names have been changed.

(Photograph omitted)