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Our Story

Caring Families Aotearoa is here to support families who open their homes and hearts to tamariki (children) and rangitahi (young people) in need of care and protection.

We provide training, encouragement, advocacy, information and support to caregiver families, throughout New Zealand, so that the placement has the best possible chance of success.

Every care journey is different. There will be ups and downs, detours and snags – we don’t have one road map for all. What we do have is over 40 years’ of experience which we share with caregivers, and our practice is based on the latest research for tamariki and rangitahi who have not had the best start in life, for whatever reason.

Every journey is different, but our goal is always the same; the best outcome for kids in care.


In 1974 the first Foster Care Associations were formed in Auckland and Christchurch in response to concerns about a lack of standards of practice; lack of service to children; lack of stability to foster children; and lack of support networks to all those involved in foster care.

In June 1976 the inaugural meeting of the NZ Foster Care Federation was held in Wellington forming the NZ Foster Care Federation to represent the voice of foster parents at a national level.

For fifteen years a group of volunteers worked tirelessly to improve the outcomes for children in care running training opportunities, regional seminars, working with Government on policy and legislation and advocating for caregivers voices to be heard.

The first paid position was the Training Coordinator, made possible by a grant from the Lotteries Board in 1989.  The focus of the next few years was training. We developed a database for training registration and accreditation, formed a partnership with Child Youth and Family to develop a National Caregiver Training Programme, and rolled this out to any person caring for a child not biologically their own.

Then in 2003 we employed our first full time Chief Executive who set up a national office in a shed on an orchard in Havelock North. At this time we were called New Zealand Family and Foster Care Federation, NZFFCF for short, since then we have had two name changes (Fostering Kids NZ and Caring Families Aotearoa) and grown to be a nation wide team of 27 supported by many volunteers.

Over the years we have been instrumental in changing the sector.  We have been involved in Financial review panels, submitted Improving Outcomes for Children in Care Report to the Child Youth and Family Minister, proposing a new model of caregiver training and wrap around support for caregivers. We have been part of NGO and Iwi reference groups and worked with Oranga Tamariki around the introduction of National Care Standards.

Honorary/Life Members

Our Honorary/Life Member

Honorary/Life membership is an honor bestowed on an individual who’s continuous, admirable, loyal, and outstanding service and contribution has provided measurable benefits to caregivers over an extended period.

Our wonderful Honorary Members / Life Members are;

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

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