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on 20 August 2015
This is a very strange little book; apart from adding to the Penguin Underground series, and giving some income to Keeping Kids Company Ltd. (actual name of the charity, and the company), making a case for keeping open the old fashioned ‘mental asylum’ (page 122-23) I cannot quite see its purpose.

It contains some odd statistics - claiming that the 2011 riots in Britain cost the country £200 billion (page 28); and that the average of those entering prostitution is 12 years (giving an online source which does not support this figure, page 9) amongst other spurious figures. Quite a few online sources cite the average age of 12, and give credit to the 2004 Home Office consultation paper 'Paying the Price' - it says no such thing.

Then we go on to find some unusual citations of the literature on child development and neural plasticity familiar to me from working over 25 years inside psychology and neuropsychology. No one in the 1980s when I studied under one of the authors that she cites, did anyone adhere to the 'maturation theory' of human development, which she claims on page 60-61. There are, however, lots of debates on the long-term effects of childhood stress, maltreatment and abuse. Purely on basic ethical grounds we should take care of children and keep them from harm: we don't need neuroscience to support this. There is no evidence for 'bodily memory' for trauma -- or repressed memories. And very little evidence to support ideas of Attachment Theory bound up purely in the quality of the first relationship. Konner (2010) clearly shows that cultures raise their children in diverse ways, including children being raised by their just older siblings, without suffering permanent damage.

The 'personal accounts' are very clearly the recollections of now apparently successful adults (that's reassuring) but belong to the school of misery literature.

Yes, it is awful, and yes some children have been left with ‘parents’ and in ‘families’ not worthy of the name, but we are left asking quite what ‘therapy’ has done for the young people with the biographies, and cases, in the book. Keeping Kids Company might have done more by aiding the statutory authorities to fulfil their roles, rather than offering art therapy and Rekii to these children: from this little book we don’t know.
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on 11 May 2013
Camila writes with passion and care for the children whose lives she supports. I admire her greatly as someone who works with the children who seek help at Kids Company. She tells their stories and exposes the weaknesses of a system, that whilst purporting to support children, essentially maintains jobs for adults. Within that system there are individuals who try to make it work. The problem as a society we face is that if we really admitted what we do to children and how ineffectual the current structures really were, it would be to acknowledge
the true failure of the edifice we have developed and built up over the last 50 years. Stories are told here that are true.
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on 6 June 2013
I hadn't realised that such extreme levels of suffering for kids was going on in the UK!

I cried when I read this book, not for the kids, but those responsible for their suffering and the agencies that let them down. I also cried for myself, how did I not know this was going on? What could I do to help?

I'd really like our taxes to go to protecting the rights and living conditions of the young and the elderly instead of illegal wars overseas. Billions spent on wars and how much invested for the kids and the elderly? We have a responsibility here!!!
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on 5 August 2015
Concise, well written book which clearly articulates the travesty of how we fail to understand and support many of the most neglected and abused children in the UK - also providing some optimism in terms of the research that is being done and how this helps us to understand the children better
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on 9 February 2016
This book gives the background to how Kids Company was set up, clearing showing the care, thought and vision that Camila had. So very sad to see it have to close.
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on 10 October 2015
grim but honest stories - Like isn't quite the word, but the stories stayed with me
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on 2 March 2016
excellent book
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on 21 February 2015
Camila is absolutely amazing!
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on 13 March 2015
fantastic insight in to a world of troubled kids
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on 12 June 2013
This is an insightful and extraordinary book written by and amazing person (as well with the collaboration of amazing people who went through so much in their lives).
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