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Terry Galloway personal statement about the Care Review in England

True Colors –

Before you read on please listen and read the words on this screen

In memory of my sister Hazel Galloway who also wanted to change the care system.

Every time I listen to this song I well up. I do not show my emotions that much as I’ve had to be strong. But this song gets me every time, especially when I watch it on youtube with the lyrics as above.

The reason it gets me is because it was my sisters’ favourite song. She is dead now, eventually murdered by her boyfriend, but before that she was taken into care, abused, and spat out by a social care system that quite frankly let us all down.

Hazel was in the newspaper around the time that Cyndi Lauper released this song. I remember the article well “101 Scars” Hazel had used a pseudo name “Danielle” and it was written by an up-and-coming journo Tina Weaver, she was the one that exposed Michael Jackson for his relationship with boys. I remember catching up with her decades later when she was an editor of a leading newspaper and she remembered.

Hazel would sit in her room cutting herself to pieces, she had scores of little fury animals, everyone was unaware of the hurt, anger and trauma she was going through. No one knew what to do. Every other day we would be at an A&E, with doctors and nurses not understanding what would drive a 14-year-old child to such despair.

But every day she would be playing this song in her bedroom. You with the sad eyes – “I can see your true colors shining through” her eyes were sad and they remained that way.

I was close to my sister and we planned on changing the care system together so that children would not have to go through what we had to endure, and so that when they left the system they would have better lives and fulfil their dreams, that was our promise to each other, but Hazel was broken, she suffered so much, she lost her children and eventually lost her life.

Before she left, we were at a funeral for another who had had a hard life too. “I feel like I will be next.” Hazel said “I do not want to die.” she added. Hazel was not in a good place, but all I could say was “Don’t be silly we are going to change the care system together” She would say “I have the heart you have the brains we can do this together”

It’s like the Wizard of Oz – we are on the yellow brick road, we are all different and we all need each other. Reflecting it was the last real conversation we had before the anger got the best of her.

But as I listen to this song, I hang on every word and remember what we wanted to do and it gives me strength and connection. This song is timeless and beautiful like a rainbow.

I only just realised that the original verse that Billy Steinberg wrote for this song, but not used was;

‘You’ve got a long list with so many choices, a ventriloquist with so many voices, and your friends in high places say where the pieces fit, you’ve got too many faces in your makeup kit, but I see your true colors shining through,’

It’s quite relevant in England right now because the chair of the independent review of the Children’s Social Care System Josh MacAllister is getting so much criticism for not being independent and people are saying his friends in “high places who are saying where the pieces fit,” and he is therefore not appropriate to lead a review of such importance.

However could it be that people are not seeing Josh’s “true colors shining through” I’ve got no clue. But I know the care experienced community know what it is like to be judged and labelled by things that are written about them and it is not nice.

I know that that this song will give him strength, it gave my sister strength, and it gives me strength. So I hope he sees this. We all want to change the care system and it does not matter how it’s done, as long as our children suffer no more and they have a better life after care.

For those of faith know that God has a plan for us all. And those of no faith, know that everything happens for a reason, whether it is quantum entanglement, or law of attraction or gritted determination,

We are all hurting but if you are able, please join me and my late sister in our ambition to change the care system.

Whether Josh is able or not, at least open your hearts to the opportunity that he can bring us together. If he chairs this review and helps us pull off the systematic change that our fallen deserve much quicker. Is it not worth 12 months and a bit of faith when we have been waiting generations?

Please don’t think that this is our only chance to change the care system. But it is a good opportunity.

Below is my favourite song of all time. It is imagine by John Lennon

My ambition towards creating systematic change in the care system

Here is a peep preview of a new website launching very soon – I’ve got big ideas for the “Participation in Society” Section. This will be an opportunity for everyone to log in and have their say on what is going on, their satisfaction with services for children in care and care leavers by council area. We will be able to compare nationally and region by region. And it will be a chance to have your say on the care review over and over.  I’m hoping young people will eventually take this over so it is a legacy for children in care and care leavers.

It’s important to really highlight good practice but also call out where things are not as good as they should be.

Examples of good practice

Where bad practice is plain to see I believe we have a responsibility to be part of the solution to make things better. Therefore we will have resources that local authorities can use to make things better for Care Leavers.

This will include a platform that they can use to get the views of the people in and who have left their care and examples of policy reports, committee reports, processes and procedures to implement things like council tax exemption, free leisure access and preferential treatment of care leavers in housing policy.

My aim is to empower young people to do things for themselves to reduce the risk of consultation with them becoming “tokenistic.” They will be able to access this platform to contribute their views and we will be paying them. The money will be put in a pot called “Bag of Money” which will be theirs. They will be able to consult with their peers and decide for themselves how to spend it.

Local Government

The problem we have in England is that Local Government is complex and consists of many different tiers and layers. The effects of social mobility on our care leavers because of the disparity causes a downward mobility which in turn disadvantages them even more.

The Children’s Commissioner talks about 152 different care systems. However, when we talk about services for care leavers there are over 340 different council systems across England. This excludes the national agencies such as the NHS, Prison Service, Ministry of Justice, Education, DWP and others who all have regional variations. 

What they all do for our care leavers will be on this website so we can compare at every level.

We need Systematic Change.

But what are systems? And what is an effective systemic approach? Both were key questions recently explored by leaders across multiple industries and sectors by Forum for the Future in New York..

Forum defines a system as a set of elements interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behaviour over time. Systems can be tiny, like a microorganism, or huge, like an entire economy. They can be naturally formed or created by us. System change is a deliberate process designed to transform the system’s fundamental behaviours so that a new, sustainable pattern can emerge.

Achieving this kind of long-term, transformational change, at both the scale and pace needed, is incredibly hard. There are no silver bullets. There is no one individual, business, government or community able to do it alone.

Young People

At the heart of this will be young people, they are our actors in their regions and they are our future and they need to be empowered to do things differently and for themselves which includes giving them the resources they need.

“People that have experienced trauma and suffering think differently but it is people that think differently that go on to change the world.”

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