From The CEO’S Desk: Linda’s November Message to You

Tēnā koutou katoa

As I am sure you are aware, we now have a new government consisting of Labour, NZ First and the Greens.  We are very hopeful that our children in care will be at the forefront of policy and decisions so that they have positive and productive futures.

Tracey Martin is now the Minister for Children and I hope to meet with her in the not too distant future to discuss support and training for all of our caregivers. Things need to change and we have high expectations that this will be a focus.

We need to strengthen the support and resourcing around the care family. There needs to be a specific focus, separate from everyday social work so that the children and care family’s needs are met.

To be truly child centred we need to consider the environment where the child is placed.  We now understand that caring and loving is not enough – developmental trauma impacts on children in ways that mark their future, therefore we need to provide homes for them that offer therapeutic parenting. Funds need to be invested in this area to really make a difference.

We will continue to be a voice and advocate for families to ensure that they have the tools, resources and knowledge to care and heal our most vulnerable children.

In the meantime though, Rob Surtees (Senior Therapist) and Sally Moffatt (Programme Manager) from Caring Families Aotearoa recently spent four days in Auckland with Dingwall Trust caregivers. The first three days they delivered a DDP-informed programme using an attitude of PACE to the caregivers.

The programme is based on attachment and relationships and is trauma informed. It was well received by the caregivers. Comments included:

“All caregivers should do this course prior to caring for children!”

“I think this is very helpful in every aspect. I’m new at this and it made me see how the kids feel and what they’ve been through.”

“The content – PACE (or PLACE) is the best way to work with children who have come from hard places.”


The last day was spent with the social workers and team leaders at Dingwall Trust, so that they are all on the same page when interacting with the children. Building a secure attachment for children who have developmental or complex trauma is fundamental for them to heal and this training covered all aspects of this over the four days.

We hope the tools and knowledge the Dingwall Trust caregivers and staff have had over this week will begin the journey for them, to build the secure attachment needed for the children that they care for.


Mā te wā
Linda Surtees

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