The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has today published a charter which sets out guiding principles for working with and involving children and young people in research.

The charter was developed with input from children and young people, parents, carers, health and research professionals through a series of workshops, surveys and a wider consultation to which the Council responded, alongside other organisations such as Generation R, the International Children’s Advocacy Network, UNICEF and the Medical Research Council.

A guide to the charter has also been published which highlights benefits of involving children and young people in health research, including: empowerment of children and young people; development of evidence based treatments; and greater understanding of the needs, experiences, perspectives and attitudes of children, young people and families.

Hugh Whittall, Director of Council, said,The Council welcomes the charter which reflects much of what we heard from young people, parents, researchers and health professionals in our own evidence gathering on the ethical issues around involving children and research. This included the importance of actively involving children and young people in the process of making a decision about research; of good communication and clear, accessible information to support informed decision making; and of researchers engaging with the views and experiences of young people and their parents in the design and review of research.In our report Children and clinical research: ethical issues we concluded that involving children, young people and their parents at all stages of the research process can help to minimise the risk of children being placed in a situation that makes them vulnerable, and ensure that research is more suited to their needs. We are pleased to see RCPCH taking this agenda forward in such a positive way.

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&Us is the RCPCH's platform for children, young people and families to join the college in improving child health.