Jones, Adele (2007) Child-Centred Methodology: Children’s Experiences of Separation through Migration: the Case of Trinidad and Tobago. In: Association of Caribbean Social Work Educators (ACSWE) 8th Biennial Caribbean and International Social Work Educators Conference, 26th - 30th June 2007, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies. (Unpublished)

This paper reflects on the application of child-centred research in a study of children who
were separated from their parents because of migration. Although set in Trinidad and
Tobago, the findings and methodology are more widely applicable. Child-centred research methodology is defined as research that:
§ Utilises methods that are easy for children to understand and meaningfully
participate in
§ Acknowledges that children’s insights are important in generating knowledge
§ 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
§ Utilises research findings to address children’s voicelessness
(Jones, Sharpe & Sogren, 2004)
Child-centred methods were applied in the collection of data and in the dissemination of
findings. In collecting data, both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. A selfreport
measure of depressive symptoms was administered across a population of 146 children aged 12-16 years. The data were analysed to obtain prevalence and extent of emotional problems, age, gender and ethnicity. From these results, purposive sampling resulted in 24 children taking part in an in-depth study of the meanings ascribed to their experiences. Findings were disseminated across several audiences (professional, academic, caregivers and children). A triangulated approach to dissemination for children resulted in the design of three methods: freeze-frame drama, voice-expression and information-giving.
Children separated from parents because of migration were more than twice as likely as
other children to have emotional problems although their economic status was improved.
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. Parents went abroad to improve the economic conditions of the family.
Surrogate care arrangements (usually with relatives) provided for children’s material
needs but did not address children’s emotional problems.
Social Work Implications
While the findings of this study are important, the focus of this paper is the application of
child-centred methodologie s 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”.

Child-centred_methodology_in_a_study_of_parental_migration-_the_Case_of_Trinidad_and_Tobago._Poland_2007[1].pdf - Presentation

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