We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

In this section you can find out more about the ethics process, police vetting and research on the topic of child and youth engagement.                                                                                                   

Ethics advice

Police vetting

Engaging with children - further reading

Child Impact Assessments

Ethics advice

Depending on the topic, you may need to run your proposal through an ethics committee before undertaking research, surveys, or engagement with children. 

  • For any research relating to health or disability services, you can apply for approvals from a Ministry of Health accredited Health and Disability Ethics Committee (HDEC). 
  • Most universities have a human ethics committee, mainly to support their staff and students’ research approvals.  These expert committees may provide advice and/or approval on the ethics of your plan for engaging with children. 
  • The research ethics committee at SUPERU (Social Policy and Research Unit) reviews research by government and non-government agencies at their request (on a commercial basis) email enquiries@superu.govt.nz with ‘ethics committee’ in the subject line. 

Guidelines for Māori Research Ethics: A Framework for Researchers and Ethics Committee Members is available here. The guidelines address Māori ethical issues within the context of decision-making by ethics committee members.

Police vetting

Police vetting is required for all people who will come in contact with children, for example people running focus groups.

The NZ Police Vetting Service provides criminal history checks on potential and current employees or volunteers to Approved Agencies that provide care to children, older people and vulnerable members of society in New Zealand.

Further information is available here.

Child and youth engagement - further reading

Child Impact Assessments

We have a basic, easy to follow framework to assess impacts of decisions on children. We have a presentation that explains how the child impact assessment can be used.

We recommend you ask the following questions to assess how your planning, decisions, service design and policy may affect children (their needs and rights).

The four CIA questions

1. How will the decision affect different areas of children's needs?

2. Will the decision have differential impacts?

3. What do children say? and

4. What will you do with this information? Base your decisions on what is in the child's best interests.


These links will be helpful if you want tools or information to undertake child impact assessments:

Check out these links for further reading on child impact assessments including evaluations of international models:





We welcome your feedback

Listening2Kids is designed as starting point for organisations wanting to engage with children or do it better.

We welcome any thoughts on how we could improve this information, add to it or make it more accessible.

This includes if you have identified relevant online advice that we could add to the links here.

Contact us via children@occ.org.nz with 'Listening2Kids' as the subject line.

Looking for something different?

The Listening2Kids information is for organisations who want to gather the views of children to inform decision making about priorities, policy, service or product design, or evaluation.

This advice is not intended to support professionals who want to strengthen how they work directly with children (e.g. teachers, counsellors, social workers and nurses). If this is your interest, you should seek support from your relevant professional body.