Jones, Adele (2008) Child-Centred Methodology: A Means to Understanding Psychosocial Neglect and Harm in Cases of Migration: A Caribbean Context. In: XVIIth ISPCAN International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect, 7th - 10th September 2008, Hong Kong, China. (Unpublished)

This paper is based on the application of child-centered methodology in
a study of the experiences of children in Trinidad and Tobago whose
parents migrated. Child-centered research methodology is research that:
• Utilises methods that are easy for children to understand and meaningfully
participate in
• Acknowledges that children’s insights are important in generating
• Recognises the importance of children’s rights of expression
(Article 12, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)
• Represents a shift away from the objectification of children and
regards them as active subjects within the research process
• Utilizes research findings to address children’s voicelessness
Child-centered methods were applied in a study of 146 children aged 13-
16 years. Purposive sampling with children presenting with indicators of
depression resulted in 24 of these children taking part in an in-depth
study of their perspectives on the meaning of their experiences.
Children separated from parents because of migration were more than
twice as likely as other children to suffer psychosocial neglect and faced
increased risk of exposure to harm. One-third had serious levels of depression
or interpersonal difficulties affecting schooling and leading, in
some cases, to suicidal ideation. Differences were found in relation to
gender and ethnicity. Resiliency factors included school performance
and belief in family reunification. Surrogate care arrangements provided
for children’s material needs, but did not address children’s emotional
While the findings of this study are important, the focus of this paper is
the application of child-centered methodologies in migration studies as a
tool both for generating deeper understandings of children’s perspectives
and for their empowerment in cultural contexts in which children are still
expected to “be seen and not heard.”

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