Child welfare services
Will your research entail recruiting participants that in some ways are or have been involved with the Child Welfare Services? In such cases, a common method for recruitment is to let the Child Welfare Services make contact with the potential participants on behalf of the researcher, so that the duty of confidentiality is maintained.
Further, it is important to ensure that the participants understand that participation in the research is voluntary, and that whether they choose to participate or not will not have any consequences for their further relations with the Child Welfare Services.
Are you employed in the Child Welfare Services while planning to conduct research including children in care? If so, there are several factors you should be aware of. Read more about research in one's own place of work.
Who can consent?
When children are included in research, it is in principle the person(s) with parental responsibility who must give consent to the child’s participation. This must be considered in each case, based on the type of information to be collected, project duration, the extent of intervention, as well as who has custody of the child/adolescent.
The person(s) giving consent on behalf of a child has the right to know what kind of information is to be collected. They should also be informed that they have the right to see the interview guide/questionnaire that is to be presented to the child, or that the staff is to answer about the child.
The age limit for self-determination depends on an overall judgment of the specific research project and whether the person is able to understand both what participation entails and how to safeguard their own rights. See also: When may children give their consent to participate?
It can also be helpful to read NESH's (The National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities) ethical guidelines on research involving children.