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A Life Long Commitment

In August 2020, Gillian Lynch became an Honorary/ Life Member of Caring Families Aotearoa. We would like to share with you her incredible journey being a caregiver and a dedicated friend of Caring Families Aotearoa.

Passionate about children and young people, Gillian was a school teacher when she saw a lot of children suffering at home. “I thought, it’s all very well to be sorry about that, but what am I actually doing about it?” Gillian then set about to see what she could do.

Beginning caregiving in 1991, she has now cared for around 200 tamariki and rangatahi, most of them just for a short time, and around 10 for a longer period. Gillian is still supporting a couple of children she has had in her care and is now their children’s grandmother.

Her journey with Caring Families Aotearoa began when the organisation was smaller and was called New Zealand Family and Foster Care Federation Inc. With help from the then Christchurch area representative, Gillian formed an association in Timaru and went on to become the Chairperson.  She has been a volunteer regional rep on the executive committee and a training facilitator. For the past 14 years, Gillian has been a Critical Support Worker and is currently a Regional Committee Member.

Gillian’s dedication has not gone unnoticed. Her kindness and compassion towards children were recognised in 2014 when she received an Excellence in Foster Care Award and just last year she received a Life Member Award at the Caring Families Aotearoa National Office in Lower Hutt.

“I was a bit surprised, but also a bit humbled. I think it’s quite a big honor to be voted as a life member along with the other life members who have been and are”

Caring Families Aotearoa has supported Gillian through her journey with support, training, and advocacy.

“Having a wider parent body, so you know that in your own little corner of New Zealand where you’re caregiving, that there is a bigger body to help you fight the battles”

Gillian said the one thing in her journey she would change is to do training earlier.

“The trainings are so helpful for caregivers, to make them think about what was happening in their fostering journey. You could see some of them having lightbulb moments like ‘that wasn’t the best way to handle that’ or ‘I could have done this better’. The other thing is that caregivers got together with other caregivers. It was the start of caregiver connections all over the country.

Caregivers were able to connect in the same towns, where they never had that opportunity before. It made caregivers feel less isolated”.

This paved the way for the future of Caring Families Aotearoa who now has training and support groups throughout New Zealand.

Thank you Gillian, for your amazing commitment to caregivers, and your support of tamariki and rangatahi in care.

From the Caring Families Aotearoa team

If you need support, advocacy, or would like to know more about our training options, we have a team that can help. Give us a call on 0800 693 323.

Honorary / Life Members of Caring Families Aotearoa

  • Barbara Allen
  • Barbara Burt
  • Bill Nathan
  • Diana Halsted
  • Ewen Laurenson
  • Gillian Lynch
  • Gwenda Swinney
  • Jill Worrall

Remember with the greatest fondness those who are no longer with us:

  • Billie Galloway
  • Graeme Swinney
  • Ngahuia Donnell
  • Pam Pilalis
  • Pat Sumpter
  • Pauline O’Connor