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Teen parents: Are children being put at risk?

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Noa Woolloff, 17, with his 9-month-old daughter Kyla in Plimmerton. Photo / Mark Coote.
Noa Woolloff, 17, with his 9-month-old daughter Kyla in Plimmerton. Photo / Mark Coote.

Schoolboy father Noa Woolloff says he's been overwhelmed by the response to his story.

The 17-year-old Aotea College head boy made headlines in New Zealand and around the world after opening up about his experiences becoming a father before finishing high school.

Noa, from Paraparaumu, north of Wellington, found out at the end of 2014 that his former girlfriend was pregnant. Their daughter, Kyla, is now 9 months old.

Are children being put at risk? Do teen parents need more help from the Government? Scroll down to leave your views:

Kyla is cared for by her grandmother while her mother is at school, and Noa visits her every day, while working in a supermarket and as a tennis coach to pay for nappies and formula.

Noa said the response to yesterday's story had been "pretty crazy" and he'd heard "a lot of positives and a lot of negatives" from the public. The more-negative responses had come mostly "from the older demographic".

"Driving home from work, I had the radio on and I was the topic of the show, it's pretty strange. Just people calling up and being really nasty, saying it's bad to bring a child into the world so young and saying I shouldn't be head boy."

However, attitudes like this are the reason Noa came forward with his story in the first place. "As a teen dad, that's exactly what I want to change, because it's so stereotypically wrong."

However, he had received mostly messages of support, including many from other teen parents. "I hoped my story would reach out to people, so I've got multiple messages from people who are pregnant at the moment and are going through pretty much the same situation that I've been going through."

Kyla's mum had also enjoyed the story, but preferred to stay out of the spotlight for now, Noa said. She thought it was "pretty crazy", though, with her daughter being seen by thousands of people.

According to Statistics NZ 2,895 babies were born to women aged between 15-19 years in 2014. There were 27 births to girls under 15 in the same year.

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