We are governed by 7 dedicated board members, each board member brings with them a wealth of experience from the fostering sector. They decide the strategic direction for Caring Families Aotearoa, ensuring that fostering families are enabled, supported and trained to provide safe and nurturing homes.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The 48th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Caring Families Aotearoa (New Zealand Family and Foster Care Federation Inc) was held on;
Date: Friday 22 September 2023
Our next AGM will be in September 2024.
Our Vision, Mission and Guiding Principles
The Board at Caring Families Aotearoa is made up of 8 dynamic, professional volunteers. Each brings a wealth of experience from the foster care sector. They decide the strategic direction of Caring Families Aotearoa, so that we can grow and make sure more and more kids in care are able to reach their potential.
Chairperson & Sector Specialist
John’s background is in Regulatory Economics, Public Policy and Government Relations, for organisations as wide-ranging as the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and Social Service Providers Aotearoa.
His current role is Manager Quality and Data at Kahui Tu Kaha, a Ngati Whatua organisation.
He has extensive governance experience and is currently Chair of the Samala Robinson Academy. John is also the very proud father of two children and uncle/matua to many in his large extended family/whānau in New Zealand, Australia and Texas.
Deputy Chair, Foster Carer Member Representative
Marina has been a foster parent since 2010 fostering through Family Works Southland. She has also been a part of the Southland Foster Care Support Group. Marina has experience in matters regarding education, child safety, employment, government regulations, leadership, governance, management and business having completed a Diploma in Child Protection through Child Matters in 2012 and is an experienced Primary and ECE teacher.
Marina is the owner/manager of Riverton Childcare with a team of 14. Additionally, Marina was a member of the BOT for Hope Centre in Riverton having previously been a member of the BOT at Riverton Primary and Aparima College. She was also a national trainer for Girl Guiding NZ and was a volunteer with them for over 20 years.
Marina’s vast experience has given her the ability to formulate and review policies and procedures, oversee financial management and planning, manage teams and employees and create and follow through with strategic plans.
Ann brings a wealth of caregiving, family home and bicultural knowledge to our Board.
She has been a caregiver for over 40 years. Ann’s approach to caregiving focuses on mannakitanga, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga and most importantly aroha. She is dedicated to the needs of the young people in her care and the importance of understanding their place in the world. Ann and her husband were also recipients of the 2020 Excellence in Foster Care Awards.
Racquel Lewis has been a kin carer, emergency placement and respite carer since 2006. She has completed a number of Caring Families Aotearoa courses, participated in the local support groups and served two previous terms on the board.
Racquel brings a wealth of practical experience having worked for over 25 years in commercial business in the hospitality, construction and property sectors to name a few.
Racquel was invited back to the board as Financial Delegate at the start of 2022 after previous Chair Colin Hardgrave retired from his role. Racquel considers the appointment a great privilege and looks forward to continuing her service to the organization as a whole.
Nicola Atwool Associate Professor
Nicola has a particular interest in attachment theory and resilience, which she explored in her PhD. An ecological framework, the sociology of childhood, critical theory, and a children’s rights perspective informs her work. The goal of her research is to influence policy and practice to improve outcomes for children and young people exposed to adversity.
Nicola worked for what is now Oranga Tamariki for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles, before moving into an academic role in 1994, working as a lecturer and senior lecturer in the Social and Community Work programme at the University of Otago.
From 2006 to 2012, Nicola worked as a Principal Advisor in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, before returning to the Social and Community Work programme at the University. She finished her time with them in December 2023 and has recently begun a new venture as an independent contractor.
Foster Carer Member Representative
Angela has been a Foster Parent for 22 years caring for both family and other children, with most her placements being long term. Currently, she cares for a teenage boy with high and complex issues.
She has vast experience working in the NGO sector and enjoys the variety of work it encompasses. Angela is a volunteer for the Salvation Army Food Bank and the secretary for the Fijian Social Services Trust.
Angela believes advocacy and peer support is paramount to ensure caregivers are supported and connected in their role.
Nik is a public policy professional, with over 20 years of experience in the government and non-government sectors.
He has worked on a wide range of issues, including education, economic, regulatory and local government policy. He’s worked for a number of different government organisations and not-for-profit, such as the Treasury, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Productivity Commission, Business NZ and the New Zealand University Students Association.
Nik is driven by a desire to see government policies that effectively and efficiently help people in need.