This is the transcript and video of an interview with Dr. Felton Earls following his presentation on "Children as Citizens: Engaging Adolescents in Research on Exposure to Violence," which was part of NIJ's Research for the Real World Seminar Series.
Issues discussed in the interview are The United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child as applied to youth facing violence in Chicago neighborhoods, globalizing the involvement of children in public health research, intergenerational closure, and the connection between public health and public safety. The Chicago research on neighborhood violence was the first project in which Dr. Earls and his colleagues consulted with children as a focus in the research design. Youth became interns in the project. During the summers, children met in small groups to learn the research techniques being used and why their independent and honest input was essential in determining how they could become part of building community capacity to address violence. This same strategy of involving children in community-based research was used in Tanzania in determining what a community should know and do about curbing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Researchers determined that this strategy of involving children in addressing issues traditionally addressed by adults helped to close the intergenerational gap in which children are expected to be submissive and obedient to adults rather than becoming coworkers in addressing problems that affect both adults and children. In conclusion, Dr. Earls notes that public health and public safety are similar concerns and can use similar research designs that involve children.
Date Published: January 1, 2011