Carolyn Dewa


NorthBEAT’s Capacity-to-Consent Protocol for Obtaining Informed Consent from Youth Evaluation Participants: An Alternative to Parental Consent


Ethical practice compels evaluators to obtain informed consent from evaluation participants. When those participants are minors, parental consent is routinely sought. However, seeking parental consent may not be appropriate in all evaluation contexts. This practice note presents one context (mental health services research in rural Canada) where seeking parental consent for youths’ participation in research was considered unethical and unfeasible. We present a two-step “capacity-to-consent” protocol that we developed to obtain consent from youth participants. This protocol offers an ethical and feasible alternative to seeking parental consent for youth. The implications for evaluation practice are discussed.