Above all, be ambitious. Be as ambitious for children and young people in care as you would be for your own. Map the route from broken family home to high achievement in business, academia and the arts, and make recommendations that will bulldoze the road blocks along the way. Now that would be an inquiry worth waiting for.
We certainly don't want to stand in the way of innovation or improvements to a system that should provide children in care with the childhood that they deserve. But until children in care and care leavers' voices are heard in this debate, none of us can say that we are putting children at the centre of decision making, or making law that is definitely in their best interests. We believe that the Government should pause the passing of the Children and Social Work Bill to allow for sufficient consultation with children and young people.
I think that it is particularly difficult for foster carers to express their frustration over allowances because there is still a widely-held belief among the public that fostering and money should never be mentioned in the same breath. That we do it for the love of the children, and that is a reward in itself; and that foster carers should not be motivated by money.
The beginning of a new year is a time when ambitions and dreams are taken from under the bed, dusted off and thoughtfully considered. For a lot of us, it's a good time for soul searching and a great time for change, and in the world of fostering in 2017 there is a great deal of change that's needed.
All around the country, foster carers are doing their bit to make sure that this Christmas will be a special one for the children and young people they care for. Having grown up with many foster brothers and sisters, I know all too well that the winter holidays are especially hard for children growing up in care. At this time of year, they are in need of all the extra love and support we can give them.
The day she arrived at my home I opened the door to find a pretty little girl that looked very thin and scared. The social worker was holding her hand and she looked terrified. I was told she couldn't speak English so I was mindful of my body language and facial expressions. If she couldn't understand English, she would understand love and affection.
We see the love and sense of pride in the faces of mums and dads, and make sure that our little'uns can see us in the audience, so they too can be reassured that there is someone who cares. We take photos, and collect the programmes, which will find their way into memory boxes and albums for when the day comes, as inevitably it will, for them to move on.
About three years ago, I went to an awards event at a local authority. There were local councillors there, including the cabinet member with responsibility for looked after children and care leavers. That cabinet member stood up and said to the care leavers there that the councillors were their corporate parents.
The venue is booked, the guests have been invited. The eldest of our three foster children is preparing to celebrate her birthday. She is drawing up a list of presents that she would like, tentatively at first but gradually growing in confidence, with some encouragement. This is not something she has been able to do in the past, and it takes some getting used to.
Refugees have fled the wars of Syria and Afghanistan and lived by their wits as they dragged themselves across a continent, hoping to be reunited with relatives in countries like Britain and France. And as they smiled at the cameras for the journalists waiting outside the immigration office in Croydon, they would have little sense of the anger and hatred that would be directed at them here in the fifth richest country on Earth.
The reality is that our system of child protection relies overwhelmingly on volunteers. Foster carers provide homes for three out of every four children and young people in care. In return, they receive no salary but are compensated through allowances based on the number of children they care for and their special needs.
In an historic moment for the child fostering sector - and urged on by the Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP - foster care workers have voted to unionise and launch their own branch of the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain Union (IWGB). The decision was taken at a packed meeting of foster care workers at Parliament on Monday 19th September.
There will always be a need for new foster carers and we ought to look at that positively, every child and teenager is different, they deserve a truly broad and diverse range of carers to be matched with in order to give them the best chance of a good outcome in care and achieving success in their lives.
Moving from home to home can really affect a child's social skills, educational outcomes and employment prospects - impacting on their mental health and exacerbating any existing behavioural and emotional issues. We know first-hand the challenges these young people face, they have often experienced the worst in life, which means it can take several moves before they find the right foster carer to meet their specific needs.