What's needed is to grow the size of the sector, by design increasing the number of homes for some needs, so that members of each sub-group meeting specifically identified needs can contribute asking the same questions, wrestling with the same issues, and worrying about the same things as you are, so that they feel a little less isolated and a little more recognised.
Sir Martin Narey's review is an opportunity to stop "doing what we've always done". It's an opportunity to be the best parents we can be for the children who we take into our care system. Being the best we can be means setting aside differences we may have with our co-parents, and allocating appropriate funding to the task of looking after the child as a priority.
I have 20 years of experience as a social worker, from the front line to leadership, and I know that awareness of child abuse and being able to identify it can play a vital role in keeping children safe. Recent, tragic media reports have no doubt affected us all and serve as a reminder that we can all do more.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of clambering over rocks along the undercliff with my grandfather one gloriously sunny day during school holidays. My family emigrated when I was still a child, so I spent too little time with him and did not know him well. He had passed away by the time I returned to the UK as a young man.
It is our fear that the gaps in the net are getting larger and more families in crisis are falling through, unrecognised and receiving no help. This will have a detrimental effect on their wellbeing, leaving many problems to snowball rather than being resolved. Storing up problems cost us more as a society in the long term.
I think it is time to prioritise child abuse as a public health issue like heart disease, smoking and obesity. These diseases get a high profile in part because they have a cost, not only in human misery but also for the economy. The NSPCC is currently researching the economic costs to the UK of child sexual abuse and it is likely that it will be billions of pounds of year.
At Action for Children, we have reached a huge milestone - following our three-year campaign and thanks to the Ministry of Justice, the legal definition of child cruelty will include emotional as well as physical harm. This new law will change lives. I've met children and young people who have suffered intolerable emotional abuse at the hands of people who are supposed to love them most.
Following the conviction of Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek for the murder of four-year-old Daniel Pelka, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "his death should be on all of our consciences." This is not a sentiment likely to be echoed by the media or the general public, who perhaps understandably lay the blame squarely on the professionals whose job it is to protect children. In the media blitz that accompanied the conviction, Mr Clegg and former children's minister Tim Loughton rushed to reassure the public that the government is doing everything possible to "reduce complexity and bureaucracy" in the child protection system, and that deaths like Daniel's are isolated cases. Government spin belies the reality of child protection.
Having spent three years working for a small charity, running a support and signposting service for young people, I decided the time was right to move on. During my final week, one of our volunteers approached and asked (very sweetly and with the best of intentions) "So, is it time to get a real job then?".
The Government can count on members of the Independent Children's Homes Association to co-operate enthusiastically as it implements reforms in the residential child care sector protecting and promoting the interests of vulnerable looked after children. The ICHA has long urged action and sought allies in pursuit of these goals.