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Molecules of Happiness: Why Love Matters to Vulnerable Children

Children are particularly vulnerable to adversity in ways that can change their brain structures, their psychology, and their ability to integrate into communities later in life.

A new research study led by Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch looks at how the organisation Kids Company is supporting vulnerable children in order to minimise the risks proposed by experiences of violence, food insecurity, poverty and social exclusion for healthy child development. The final report of the study highlights the substantial difference Kids Company makes in the lives of children and youth in the UK by drawing on basic principles of emotional care and unconditional love.

The success of Kids Company is in providing children with the knowledge that someone cares and will not give up on them. This, in combination with a network of the supports and programmes Kids Company offers, provides children and youth with the opportunity to experience group cohesion, a positive social identity and a strong sense of community. Through these experiences children alter their neural pathways with a positive affect on emotional and behavioural changes.


The final report of the research study was shared at a conference held at the LSE in September 2013 in collaboration with Kids Company, University College London and the University of East London. The conference is likely to shape and inform debate on youth disaffection, child and adolescent mental health, education and youth violence for years to come. The programme and videos of the event are available online.

To download the full report, please click here: Kids Company: A diagnosis of the organisation and its interventions

News headlines

To see the impact this research has already made, take a look at these headlines from the Evening Standard: