Pregnant women involved with statutory child protection services: The impact of difficult-to-reach on recruiting a non-biased sample
Pregnant women involved with statutory child protection services could be considered hidden in society or ‘silenced’ due to the lack of published evidence on whether state intervention with this group is beneficial. Scholars continue to call for research exploring the experience of at-risk pregnant women, in particular, for research that examines the impact of prenatal state involvement on outcomes for newborn babies, their mothers, and their significant others such as fathers, partners, families and communities. This study describes a researcher’s experience of attempting to recruit a purposeful sample of women who were the subject of an unborn child high risk birth alert in New South Wales, Australia. Short Message Service mobile telephone messages were utilised to invite participation via an opt-in approach, as a means to hear women’s experiences of the services they received while pregnant with their last child. From a population of eighty-nine, the strategy recruited only two participants. By describing the process undertaken to recruit a non-biased sample of at-risk women to a qualitative research study, future researchers may be able to deploy recruitment strategies that enable and encourage at-risk women to participate in research, in turn, allowing us to hear their voices.