The Kids Are Alright

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

I can't unfortunately blog at length about this as I am sending this from my mobile, but I am reading an article in today's London Lite regarding a joint experiment to be conducted by scientists at University College London and the charity Kids Company.

The experiment involves doing brain scans on violent young offenders to prove their actions are not caused by the fact that they're mindless thugs, but because they were abused as youngsters.

Kids Company is run by Camila Batmanghelidjh who is described elsewhere as the 'poster girl' for Common Purpose, so it's worth looking at this in further detail. As I'm not around this evening, perhaps one of my fellow contributors would be so kind as to pick up the baton on this and report back?



8 Responses to “The Kids Are Alright”
Post a Comment | Post Comments (Atom)

Catosays said...

I know very little about her apart from her being regularly on the sofa on BBC Breakfast.
She looks her her clothes came from Gerry Cottle's circus.

14 July 2009 at 18:37
JuliaM said...

It's well on the way to being a fakecharity, that's for sure, with 11% government funding, and that due to go up with £12mill (over 3 years) from the DCFS...

She's all about the 'kids aren't responsible, it's society wot done it' too.

14 July 2009 at 19:21
marksany said...

Camila does really good work with her charity. They deal with emotionally disturbed young people, helping them to overcome their problems and go from disruptive, self harming children with bad behaviour into happy well balanced young people who do well at school and get on well with others. These are often kids that have been all through the rest of the education, social and mental health system and kicked out as ones that cannot be fixed - their next step would usually be crime followed by prison or suicide.

She has a theory which underpins her work: children who are abused suffer mental and emotional damage that comes out in bad behaviour and self harm when they get older. I couldn't find out much more about this research than the press release on her blog, but it seems she wants to use brain scanning techniques to find out if brain damage is measurable in abused children.

In my work in education I see a lot of children with behaviour problems; bullying, stealing, foul language, etc.. In many cases these kids are clearly suffered some form of abuse in their past and often are suffering now. Not always, sometimes they are just badly behaved shits with no reasons.

I don't believe Camilla is seeking evidence that its not the kids' fault; so we have to let them all off and go about their way vandalising and drug taking.

She works to help children change their behaviour from good to bad, to help them stop taking drugs. To best do this she has a theory of the causes, I imagine this study is to back up her theory.

She may be a lefty flake in thrall to Common Purpose, maybe a useful idiot, but on children I believe she is right: If you want a child to change his behaviour, you have to know what is causing it.

Thye fakecharity part? Councils who are responsible for children they can do nothing with send them to Kids Company, and pay the bill - seems like a good deal.

14 July 2009 at 19:58
JuliaM said...

" seems she wants to use brain scanning techniques to find out if brain damage is measurable in abused children. "

The reverse, actually. She wants to scan gang membes to see if they were damaged by emotional abuse, and therefore conclude that tis is what has made them gang members.

Want to bet she finds exactly what she plans to find?

"I don't believe Camilla is seeking evidence that its not the kids' fault..."

She has done in the past. Why change now?

14 July 2009 at 20:08
GCooper said...

Is marksany seriously asking us to believe that the greater incidence of misbehaviour among today's yoof is due to a (presumably) greater incidence of child abuse?

If he is, common sense alone tells us this is nonsense.

14 July 2009 at 21:34
marksany said...

thanks for the link to Stephen Pollard, very interesting. She is bonkers, clearly; her use of language is odd and gets in the way of her message. But I can't help but think that she is right: Damaged kids become gang members, etc.

She may well find that every gang member she scans has been abused in some way and has measurable damage to the operating of the brain. It sounds like they will also be testing normal children as a control on the expimentation.

It's not like she stamps "It's not my fault" on their forehead and throws them back on the street. She helps them turn their lives around, using the knowledge she gains about the damage they have suffered to provide the right help.

14 July 2009 at 22:11
marksany said...

GCooper: If you plot a graph of ASBOs against child abuse cases, will there be a correlation? Possibly, I don't know - that's not what I am asking anyone to believe.

All I am saying is that I believe Camilla when she says that many of the young violent feral people she deals with are the way they are because they were abused in some way, and the damage they carry has to be addressed to have a chance of turning that life around.

The only cause? No, there are many causes, but this is an important one.

What other causes do you suggest?

14 July 2009 at 23:07
GCooper said...

marksany asks: "What other causes do you suggest?"

Aside from the general breakdown of British society in the past 50 years, you mean?

I'm afraid I find it hard to believe that children today are any more subject to 'abuse' (in quotes because it is such a weasel word).

If it's sexual abuse she means, I see no reason to believe that is more common today than it ever was.

Physical abuse? I'd have thought less common, given the propensity of earlier generations of parents and schoolmasters for beating their charges.

Poverty? Nope.

Sorry, this sounds dangerously like
Officer Krupke-style psychobabble to me.

Might as well blame Tartrazine, as many do.

14 July 2009 at 23:25