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hat’s why I want kids in fos­ter care to speak out. So­cial work­ers need to go into homes and ask kids how they feel. No one ever did that for us.

“When you’re moved into an­other house­hold and peo­ple are get­ting money for you be­ing there, it’s hard to speak out.

“We were lucky we had a teacher at school who saw our bruises and burns but knew she couldn’t speak to our so­cial worker. She helped my mum fight to get us back.”

Stef knows noth­ing about his mother’s court bat­tle, but knows when they were re­turned home the bond with their mum be­came stronger than ever.

“Mum sat us down and said, ‘OK, we need to talk about ev­ery­thing, then let’s move on. Any­thing you need in life, tell me and I’m here’. It felt like she’d wrapped a big safety The duo are X Fac­tor hits blan­ket around us.” Stef, who taught him­self som­er­saults and back­flips by prac­tis­ing on his mum’s bed, de­vel­oped his raw tal­ent by writ­ing songs to ex­press his emo­tions. His time in so­cial care has af­fected his per­son­al­ity.

“I feel like I have a su­per­power be­cause I know when some­one’s up­set, an­gry, or doesn’t want to talk be­cause they’re ashamed.

“I say, ‘Are you OK?’. I’m al­ways telling peo­ple I’m here for them to speak to.

“I crave ap­proval from my­self,” he says. “Ev­ery day I look in the mir­ror and say, ‘Are you happy?’.

“I am hap­pi­est writ­ing our own mu­sic and per­form­ing, that’s why I have not stopped for the last nine years.

“I hope our mu­sic in­spires peo­ple. I hope kids in care might see me so happy and know they can be too.

“One day I want to set up a char­ity to help kids in care – I want for them all to know they have a voice.”

The X Fac­tor is on tonight at 8.30pm on ITV.

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