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Report
HOW KIDS COMPANY
INTERVENTIONS WORK
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Professor Stephen Briggs
University of East London
A QUALITATIVE EVALUATION OF
KIDS COMPANY’S ‘LEGIT LIVING’
PROGRAMME
Stephen Briggs, Hannah Linford, Lorraine
Ainscow, Aayesha Mulla, Andrew Whittaker
The Tavistock Clinic, UK
with Stephen Briggs Consulting
2011- 2013
“I’ve matured quickly because
of what happened in my life….
from age 4, I’ve been looking
after my family… we didn’t
really have that much food,
clothes....we didn’t know when
we was gonna eat, how long the
food was gonna last”
“I don’t like talking about stuff. I
tend to bury it until I explode. I
don’t want to talk to
anyone…[but]......just stay in bed,
hide away, hope it goes away”.
“I didn’t know how to like talk to
people”
“Like if there weren’t organisations like Kids Company about
I would have been terrorising the streets, literally like a
menace to society….something I would not like to have
become, but luckily I had Kids Company
Aims and Methods
• Aims:
• to assess the outcomes for a sample of young people
accessing Kids Company’s services
• to assess the process of change through listening to young
people reflecting on their experiences
• to make a contribution to understanding how Kids Company
interventions impact on the lives and issues facing young
people
• Methods
• Qualitative longitudinal Interviewing (QLI)
• Practice-near methods:
• (Briggs and Froggett 2009; Froggett and Briggs 2012)
Sample and data collection
• Sample:
• Young people (age 13-24 )were interviewed 3 times at 6
monthly intervals i.e. over a 12 month period
• 29 young people at baseline,
• 27 after 6 months and
• 22 after (at least) 12 months
• Data Collection
• In depth qualitative interviews with young people
• In depth interviews with 10 key workers
• Case notes
Data Analysis
Narratives 
Profiles 
Case studies
22 participants
interviewed at 6
monthly intervals
Categories from
interviews tabulated
Structured accounts to
illustrate journeys
Focus on interactions/ Clustering by age group Initial assessment
emotional qualities
Backgrounds
Issues at first interview
Analysed using
‘practice near’
methods
Outcomes assessed as
both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’
categories
Changes after 6
months
Changes after 12
months
Gains (positive
outcomes)
Current challenges
Cluster
Number of YPs
completing the
evaluation
Number of YPs at
baseline
Under 16
4
4
16-19
5
7
19-22
7
9
22 and above
6
9
total
22
29
FINDINGS
Background characteristics
• Family backgrounds were
traumatising through:
• Abusive/neglecting/violent
• Poverty/marginalisation
• Disrupted/separated
• Mental ill health
• Substance abuse
• criminality
• Young people were
• Marginalised
• Enduring poverty
• Educational failure
• Mental and physical health
problems
• Engaged in risky/antisocial
behaviours
• Failed by societies support
systems
Baseline
Characteristics
“a grim picture
was identified
of the
backgrounds
and issues
faced by
these young
people”
• Cluster 1 (up to 16 years):
• limited, neglectful and potentially
abusing families impacting on
development
• Cluster 2 (16-19 years)
• abusive and difficult family relationships
precipitate young people to face these
years outside their families
• Clusters 3 and 4 (19-23/25 years)
• These years are spent aiming to recover and
repair earlier traumas and disadvantages
whilst experiencing the challenges of young
adulthood
Their basic needs have not
been met…….
• Out of the 29 young people:• 17 had problems with sleeping
• 13 had problems with eating
• 25 had serious housing problem
• of which 14 faced homelessness
• 19 had involvement in crime and
• 16 left school with no qualifications.
‘Sometimes I want to kill myself when
I’m in my flat’ – no TV, no nothing’.
“I was in a wave of crime, a wave of
bullying, a wave of…..a lot of things
which really made me an unhappy
person. It’s the trauma I experienced
as a young person and stuff that I saw
which made me go into that stuff”.
“I wasn’t getting on well with my school
work, I kept having problems
understanding what to do” (participant,
12 years)
“I smile all the time”
Kids
Company
Interventions
“the
comprehensiveness
of the provision, the
volume of work and
the teamwork
involved are key
features”
• Addressing trauma therapeutically to bring about
healing and repair…
• at the practical level, direct provision of food
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
(meals in the centres), food vouchers, money for
travel, paying rent; support for accommodation,
furnishings, decorating (‘Colour a Child’s Life’)
advocacy and negotiation with housing,
children’s services, UKBA
classes for GCSE’s, bronze/silver/gold awards in
dance, drama, art, photography, fashion
activities for younger children in the centres
mentoring and ‘positive experiences’ for
school/college work, CVs, applications, work,
apprenticeship applications, work placements
physical fitness facilities
camps and expeditions; shows
therapies of various modalities and massage
“I love my keyworker, she’s great”
Keyworkers
“If you genuinely need someone to talk
to there’s someone here that will listen
to you. No misconceptions, unlike
other
agencies.
Unconditional
attention, round the clock. There are
no “empty promises” at Kids
Company.”
“The people here to support us are
doing a terrific job like we may not act
like it, but we are grateful no matter
how much we swear at you, no matter
how much we cuss at you. It all comes
from a loving place”
Outcomes
 reduced risks to personal safety
 increased stability in practical living (housing, finance,





legal status)
being in education and achieving educationally and/or in
employment
improvements in mental well-being, including selfesteem, self- confidence and reduced mental ill health
reduction or cessation of offending behaviours
raised aspirations (and working towards putting these
into practice)
improved interpersonal and familial relationships
Summary of Outcomes
• All young people made gains in some areas, increasing
•
•
•
•
•
achievement and reducing adversities
Most continue to face challenges
Positive outcomes (gains) outweighed continuing
challenges for 13/22
Additionally, the in-depth working continually addresses
new challenges as they occur
Prevention of some potentially negative outcomes is not
captured directly (e.g. prevention of family breakdown,
school exclusion etc)
‘The Spiral of fluctuations’
Challenges
Setbacks
Interventions
Improvements
‘It gives me pride to get (good
grades at university). Is this
really mine? I couldn’t believe
it’.
“you get to be yourself and just have
fun and join with loads of different
activities and meet new people and
just express yourself and have fun” (11
year old about Kenbury)
“…now and again I’ve got myself into little predicaments because
obviously there’s still people around me….like a lot of my friends
are still caught up in a lot of things so obviously I’m gonna be
around certain situations. ……..Kids Company has just given me
the knowledge to kind of see like you’ve got options, your choice if
you wanna do it you do it, but you know there might be some
unfortunate consequences”
How do the interventions support better
outcomes for young people?
• The Kids Company relational/attachment/holistic
approach:
• Develops resilience to adversity
• Provides social capital to assist the transition to adulthood
• Supports investments in competences, aspirations and
achievements
Love + ‘agency’ = potential for change!
“I decided I loved physical fitness more than I loved
cannabis”
Conclusions
• The study used QLI methods to generate nuanced,
•
•
•
•
•
contextualised data about process and outcomes for a sample
of kids
This sample had extensive and serious experiences of abuse
and deprivation in their childhood/adolescent years causing
severe difficulties across all aspects of their development and
functioning
The holistic, ‘wrap around’ model of care fits the needs of these
young people; the extent of their needs and the intensity of the
input varies according to the extent of the prior deprivation and
trauma
All young people demonstrated improved outcomes (in 1 or
more of the 6 key areas)l these are impressive for this sample
The outcomes are subject to fluctuation rather than linear;
setbacks generate new challenges
The young people focussed on the relationships with Kids
Company as central to their investments and improvements

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