Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kids Company Founder Denies Mistakes and Says Ministers Failed Children

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kids Company Founder Denies Mistakes and Says Ministers Failed Children

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil Deputy Political Editor

KIDS Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh today accused the Government of failing the vulnerable children "pouring" off the streets to seek help from her charity, which collapsed yesterday.

She denied management failure at the charity and insisted that it had been "trying to sort out something that society is not dealing with".

For months, Kids Company has faced growing questions over its financial affairs and shut last night after running out of money. Ministers gave it PS3 million last week in addition to a PS4 million payment in April despite senior civil servants' concerns.

The latest payment was dependent on the charity matching it with fundraising, but a donor who had reportedly pledged PS3 million decided not to go ahead after it emerged that police had launched an investigation into a number of criminal allegations involving the youth charity. The charity has stressed that it has never been found guilty of wrongdoing towards children in its 19-year history.

There were also questions about whether it should have used a reported PS800,000 of public money to pay staff rather than fund a financial restructuring, including Ms Batmanghelidjh stepping down as chief executive.

Today, she hit out at the Government, blaming it for the charity's plight by not doing more to help troubled youngsters. "Kids Company has been carrying a statutory caseload of very disturbed children and young people, self-referring off the street for which we get no money," she told BBC Radio. "We wanted help, for the Government to come and help take this caseload of children off us, or sit with us and go through this caseload and make decisions about what we were going to do."

She insisted that the Government, not the charity, should have been taken responsibility for child protection and child mental health cases. "It's a moral problem," she said. She said that only yesterday she had had to talk a boy, whose case she said the charity had asked social services to pick up, from jumping off a platform on to a railway line. …

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