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Over the past 5 years researchers from the Institute of Child Protection Studies have talked with vulnerable children and young people in an attempt to better understand their lives, their perceptions and how they might be better supported around issues such as homelessness, parental drug and alcohol use, caring, juvenile justice and out of home care. Researchers have confronted a myriad of challenges in recruiting, meaningfully engaging and supporting the participation of children with diverse needs and preferences as well as presenting their findings in a way that is helpful to both commissioning bodies and for children and young people. This paper, whilst drawing on current literature, predominantly provides a series of reflections from researchers working with vulnerable children and young people and from young participants themselves about some of the ethical and practical challenges that have emerged when talking to children and young people about sensitive issues. Specifically this paper will discuss issues concerning gatekeepers, children’s participation and their rights to whether how and when to be involved.


Institute of Child Protection Studies

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Journal Article

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