Our Governance

We are governed by 8 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.

Our Constitution

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

The 47th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Caring Families Aotearoa (New Zealand Family and Foster Care Federation Inc) was held on Wednesday 21 September 2022.

Our next AGM will be will be in September 2023.

Our Vision, Mission and Guiding Principles

Board Members

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.

John Dickson

John Dickson

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.

Marina Seager

Marina Seager

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 Mitchell

Ann Mitchell

Sector Specialist

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

Racquel Lewis

Business Advisor

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 Specialist at the start of 2022 after previous Chair Colin Hargreaves 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 Atwool Associate Professor

Sector Specialist

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 came to an academic position with extensive practitioner experience and is committed to research that bridges the worlds of academia, policy and practice.

At the beginning of 2006 Nicola took up a position as Principal Advisor in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. Nicola returned to Otago University at the beginning of 2012 as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work.

Angela Swinney

Angela Swinney

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.

Ken Wickens

Ken Wickens

Foster Carer Member Representative

Ken has been caregiving for 25 years and in that time has cared for many tamariki and rangatahi. Ken brings with him to the Board knowledge of the care sector as well as vast leadership experience.

Ken and his wife were Excellence in Foster Care Award recipients in 2016. Ken has also been the recipient of Foster Dad of the Year.

Nik Green

Nik Green

Sector Specialist

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 organisations, 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.

Annual Reports

2022 Annual Report Download

2021 Annual Report Download

2020 Annual Report Download

2019 Annual Report Download

2018 Annual Report Download

2017 Annual Report Download

2016 Annual Report Download

2015 Annual Report Download