Introduction: At-risk youth are often excluded from research yet without eliciting their views, subtle but important factors influencing decision-making processes and self-conceptualization may be missed. Engaging this population in research is a means of respecting and affirming them as individuals, and is central to developing effective policies. However, efforts to engage with at-risk youth can often be hampered by barriers such as the need to overcome distrust resulting from repeated trauma or stigmatization, and limited opportunities for research with this hard-to-reach population. Methods: This presentation describes lessons learned from a yearlong study examining the lived experiences and perceptions of at-risk youth at a Taiwanese group home for teenage boys in foster care or juvenile justice system. We used a strengths-based approach to explore health needs and sources of resiliency and support through Photovoice, a qualitative research method in which participants produce photographs and narratives to communicate their perspectives. Results: Ethical concerns, such as age, suicidality, protected status, and the possibility of disclosing incriminating behavior, presented major challenges. We found that at-risk youth may lack the introspective or communication skills to express themselves, especially verbally, and are often unaccustomed to being asked to articulate their views in a research study. In this presentation, we discuss the six lessons learned in this research: 1) consider ethical challenges, 2) use symbolism, 3) develop mutual trust with participants, 4) take time to develop participants’ introspective skills, 5) disseminate study results widely, and 6) include participant empowerment as a key objective. Conclusions: Although Photovoice studies have been conducted among various youth populations but few studies have been conducted among youth in the foster care or juvenile justice system. The lessons learned from this study may be helpful for others implementing similar ones among such populations.
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Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care Program| March 01 2021
Lessons Learned From A Community-Based Participatory Research Study with At-Risk Youth in Taiwan
Pediatrics (2021) 147 (3_MeetingAbstract): 90–91.
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Victor Hsiao, Mellissa Withers; Lessons Learned From A Community-Based Participatory Research Study with At-Risk Youth in Taiwan. Pediatrics March 2021; 147 (3_MeetingAbstract): 90–91. 10.1542/peds.147.3MA1.90b
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