Investigators are trained that research involving children requires special protocols. Projects become more complex when the research involves youth who are considered especially vulnerable: those involved in the delinquency or dependency court systems; those with family members whose lives include addiction, abuse, or incarceration; and those confronting illness, poverty, neglect, or other sources of danger and chaos. How do we ensure that research projects designed to study, and ultimately benefit, vulnerable populations avoid the introduction of negative secondary outcomes along the way? How do we manage situations in which research methods demand dispassionate observation, yet human nature seems to call for overt tenderness? And how do we interact effectively with young research subjects whose experiences with other professionals have so often been fraught? Participants in this session will review a range of policies, research design choices, training methods, and case studies that can inform the development of approaches that preserve research integrity while also allowing for the application personal compassion in studies involving especially-vulnerable youth.