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As many of you are aware, this month we are saying farewell to our longest standing member of the Caring Families Aotearoa team. Andeana Pilalis has been with Caring Families since we were The New Zealand Family and Foster Care Federation back in 2009 and has proven herself to be an invaluable asset to our organisation. Andeana started as the Office Manager, became the Events and Communications Manager and for the past six years has been the Critical Support Manager. Many of you who have faced allegations will know Andeana for the incredible love and support she has offered in her position as Critical Support Manager. As well as an amazing member of our team, Andeana led her own caregiving journey that spanned 20 years and included many children, a lot of whom continue to be a part of Andeana’s close-knit family.

Many caregivers have been touched by Andeana’s passion for the support of caregivers and children in care. Life members of Caring Families Aotearoa Ewen & Gillian Laurenson, Diana Halsted, and Gillian Lynch have shared some thoughts on Andeana and her time with the organisation.

Messages from Life Members

“We admire the depth of love and compassion Andeana carries in her heart for others. 

Over a long period of time Andeana has shown a deep commitment to the wellbeing of children and young people in need of care. Andeana has also shown a similar commitment to support families who have opened their hearts and homes to care for vulnerable children and young people. Her contribution through Caring Families to the wellbeing of foster and kinship families and their charges is remarkable and for this contribution we honour her. 

We are also grateful for the encouragement and support Andeana has given to us and the Open Home Foundation over the years.  We appreciate her and her encouragement very much.”

-Ewen and Gillian Laurenson.

photo of Andeana Pilalis the Critical Support Manager

“I have known Andeana for at least 16 years as we have both been involved in the foster sector in NZ.

She has a huge knowledge of issues in the foster care sector, and particularly as to how they relate to children in care and their caregivers. Andeana has special interpersonal skills in establishing relationships with those whom she meets in the foster care world each day, whether they be children, caregivers, fellow workers, or ‘officials’. She has a warm, enthusiastic, supportive, affirming, non-judgmental manner.  She has a ready smile, is a good listener, and is quick to establish rapport especially with those who are facing challenges. She is a caring person and has a special empathy with people.

Andeana has given much to foster care and to Caring Families (and I’m sure it’s not over yet). Her new employer will be the richer for having Andeana working in their midst. She exudes goodwill, is the epitome of good communication, and always goes the extra mile.

Good luck Andeana, go well – it has been such a pleasure to work with you, and also to have you as my friend.”

-Diana Halsted.

“I first met Andeana when I was taking some training for foster parents in Wellington. I was impressed with her bubbliness and cheerful approach. Nothing seemed a bother. I was thrilled when a little later I heard she had been offered a position in the office when it moved to Wellington. It’s always good to have a person who has caregiving experience involved in the organisation. She was a great organiser of the conferenceand knew how to party hard! I have most enjoyed her time as Allegation and Critical Support Manager as it was great to be a part of the team and it was always a passion of Andeana’s. I will miss her.”

-Gillian Lynch

Andeana’s absence will be felt in the office but her new role and organisation will benefit deeply from having her wisdom, kindness, generosity and commitment to children in care and care families. Join us in wishing Andeana good luck for all of her future endeavours!