Kids Company and the principle of "loving care"

Johanna Schmitz
Kids Company

Kids Company, United Kingdom

Kids Company is a London-based charity which offers practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable children and young people. These children’s lives are often blighted by homelessness, crime and violence and substance misuse. It is Kids Company’s experience that statutory social services are overwhelmed by the extent of need in inner-city London, and the lack of resources available to meet that need.
To meet these complex needs Kids Company services are child-focused, holistic and non-exclusionary. There are three service delivery points: a street-level drop-in centre, a post-16 education and life skills centre, and a variety of early interventions in schools. Services are embedded in a psychotherapeutic model informed by neuro-physiological findings and attachment theory. The main premise behind this model is that through the provision of an environment of empathy, attachment and loving care children can heal the emotional hurt caused by neglect and/or abuse. The relationship between the child or young person and a trusted key worker, social worker or therapist is therefore central to all Kids Company interventions. Self-referral, being able to choose key-workers and working without a time frame are experienced by children as being ‘worked with’, rather than ‘worked on’.
Kids Company’s quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation methodology reflects this ‘power with’ model and shows that Kids Company services are effective in meeting the clients’ complex needs. Outcomes are measured in terms of Kids Company’s universal aims of improved emotional and physical wellbeing, engagement in a relationship with an adult figure and engagement with education/training/employment.

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