In a very useful blog post, social worker Dr Liz Davies, Emeritus Reader in Social Work at London Metropolitan University, discusses serious concerns about the neuroscientific claims-making of the charity Kids Company and its CEO Camila Bathmanghelidjh.
‘So why should I write all this now? Now that the Kids Company website has gone and there is little trace online of all that occurred. History is being erased. I’m writing because during it’s demise, I began to question what had happened to the experiments. Have they been completed and published by the line-up of researchers and medical experts? Was it only Great Ormond Street that abandoned their project? What has happened to the children who were put through EEGs and MRI scans – how are they now? What did they think of their contribution to ‘science’ and what do they think now? Was there trauma involved in the process? Did they experience claustrophobia as they went through the MRI scanner tunnel? Have the ethics committees re-examined their decisions? Has the government reviewed the funding streams and academic decision-makers that enabled these research projects to go ahead? Was it all about taming teenagers? Was it about creating conditions ready-made for the Big Pharma to fill a gap in the market?
One thing social work taught me over 44 years is that human beings can and do survive the most horrendous childhoods and come through. I don’t believe that a brain scan has anything to contribute to our knowledge about trauma to children but I mainly think that children, already vulnerable, deserve better than to be guinea pigs in someone’s ludicrous experiment. The dust has now settled on what was the charity Kids Company – but what has happened to all that costly research? At a later date, the children as adult survivors will be asking for sure – but I’d like to know right now before more evidence about it vanishes entirely.’