Kids Company psychologist admits taking drugs while with vulnerable children


A psychologist faces being struck off after admitting being high on party drugs while with vulnerable young people she worked with at Kids Company.

Helen Winter confessed to taking MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, and being under its influence while with two clients of the charity on or around January 24 and 25 last year.

She also admitted using drugs "on several occasions" during her leisure time and letting the vulnerable young people, known only as 'clients C and D' to stay at her flat.

She denied offering MDMA to Client C or actually taking it in front of the same client.

Ms Winter admitted that she was guilty of misconduct and that her fitness to practice is impaired at the hearing at the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPS) in London today.

Kids Company collapsed in August amid allegations of financial mismanagement.

Kids Company has faced a series of damaging allegations since its collapse.

The charity, which is now under the control of administrators, is being investigated by officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse team of the Metropolitan Police Service.

The charity was led by flamboyant founder Camila Batmanghelidjh and was courted by Britain's top politicians and celebrities.

But it collapsed suddenly last summer and it has since been revealed that at least £46 million of public money was handed to the charity despite concerns about the way it was being run.

Alan Yentob, former chairman of trustees at the charity, stepped down as BBC creative director following allegations that he tried to influence its coverage of the charity's troubles.

He always insisted there was no conflict of interest. But, stepping down from his high-profile role at the BBC, Mr Yentob said his role at the failed charity was a "serious distraction".

Kids Company folded on August 5 last year, just six days after receiving a £3 million grant to keep it afloat.

Ms Winter, referred to in proceedings as the registrant, also admitted testing positive for cocaine in a routine drugs test for Kids Company on May 14 2014.

Daniel Mansell, the presenting officer, told the hearing: "In May 2014 concerns were raised in Kids Company about the registrant's drug use and inappropriate interaction with service users."

He said Ms Winter took MDMA with a colleague, Nicci Shall, on a night out at a club in Vauxhall, south London, on January 24 2014.

It is alleged that in the club Ms Winter went into the toilet where she took the drug with Client C.

Mr Mansell said: "On the 24th January 2014 Colleague A and the registrant went for a drink with other Kids Company employees.

"The registrant suggested that she and Colleague A go to a nightclub in Vauxhall.

"They decided to purchase some MDMA on the way to the club and met with someone who provided this.

"Once the pair arrived at the club they took the MDMA and saw Client C and D at the club and spoke to them.

"At one point the registrant and Ms Shall and Client C went to the toilet and went to the cubicle.

"The registrant offered Client C some MDMA, Client C accepted and they took it."

He told the hearing that Ms Winter and her colleague originally met at the Urban Academy, a pupil referral unit.