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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2005 Dec;34(4):646-57.

Treating children like people: a framework for research and advocacy.

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  • 1Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, Clemson University, SC 29634-0132, USA.


Issues in child policy are often obscured by symbolic debates about the nature of child development and family life. There is a need for greater care in the identification of the interests at stake and articulation of the normative foundation for various policies and programs. The Convention on the Rights of the Child carries an implicit rights-focused agenda for social science research. Building on that agenda, this article presents topics that should be examined more closely by psychologists, and it also provides rights-grounded principles for design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of research. Although rights talk, especially the vocabulary of children's rights, is controversial, thoughtful application of such a framework leads to consensual adoption of policies and programs that are both more rational and more humane.

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