Kids Co founder Camila Batmanghelidjh to speak at Community Care Live 2014

The popular and outspoken campaigner will discuss why current models of child protection are failing both children and social workers

Camila Batmanghelidjh
Camila Batmanghelidjh (Geoffrey Swaine/Rex)

By Claire Edwards

Children’s campaigner and Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh is to address social workers at Community Care Live, it has been announced today.

Community Care Live, the biggest free event for social workers, will take place next week, on 20 and 21 May. In her session, on Wednesday 21 May, Batmanghelidjh will promote the need for a fundamental change in the delivery of children’s social care, based on new social and biological information.

She will discuss why current models of care are failing children and how a restructure of the child protection system would benefit both children and social workers.

Notoriously outspoken, she is frustrated by the government’s lack of urgency to tackle child neglect and maltreatment and failure to address the shortage of social care resources.

In a recent interview with The Independent, she said: “Oh, I’ve had all sorts of politicians admit to me, privately, they know that children’s social services is not fit for purpose.”

Born to Iranian and Belgium parents, she fled her home in Tehran after the 1979 revolution, settling in the UK. Despite suffering from severe dyslexia, she completed school and achieved a degree from Warwick University.

Batmanghelidjh has tirelessly devoted her life to helping some of the country’s most vulnerable children. After training as a psychotherapist, she founded her first charity, The Place To Be, in her early twenties before going on to form Kids Company in 1996.

The charity supports children and young people with severe behavioural, social and emotional difficulties as a result of trauma and neglect.

In February 2013, she was recognised for her work with disadvantaged children, and was appointed as an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Working predominantly with inner-city children, Batmanghelidjh has a profound interest in neurology, and believes constant trauma and abuse can severely affect a child’s brain development.

Kids Company looks to “reparent” vulnerable adolescents, treating them as toddlers to retrieve the development delay and neurological damage as a result of being persistently frightened. Research, due to be published in September, shows that after 15 months with Kids Company, children began to show a change in their behaviour and brain-functioning.

We can expect a colourful and forthright session from Batmanghelidjh as she voices her opinion on child development and the future of child social care.

Click here to register for Community Care Live

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