Lower South News – December 2019

Lower South RC
Barbara McElligott
03 928 5122 or
027 501 0391

Kia ora koutou / Greetings everyone,

Yes folks, it is December so it’s got to be said “Merry Christmas” 😊.

Some of you had the opportunity of attending the Fostering Kids NZ National Conference “Setting the Pace” in October. This was two days of total immersion in therapeutic parenting and trauma informed models for both families and professionals. It bought together attachment theory, the neurobiology of trauma, attachment from a Maori perspective, understanding the meaning of child’s play, sensory based strategies and more. Most of us know that ordinary parenting often fails to help tamariki in care and so topping up our kete with these therapeutic ideas are invaluable, and the rich connections one makes with other caregivers is fantastic.

We haven’t had a lot of training in the south over the last month, however, I’m looking forward to next year when Oranga Tamariki will have their updated trainings ready and available for us to deliver again. Trainings provide us with lots of opportunities to increase our kete of tools and tips to maximise success in our whanau / family units. It also gives us the opportunity to meet with other carers like ourselves. So please keep an eye out for trainings for Term 1 2020 .

The Christmas / holiday season can be a stressful time for all, and more especially for the tamariki in our care. This may be a time they long to be with their birth family more than ever. There may be memories of birth family gatherings and we know this can either trigger good or not so good memories for them. 

Here are some handy tips:

  • Encourage access/contact to be a positive time.
  • Encourage children to do something special for their birth parents/family/whanau (cards, little gift etc).
  • If you’re going to family outings with your own family, make sure there is a gift for your children in care. Your relatives may not think about this.
  • Allow the child placed in your care to share positive memories of past Christmas’s.
  • Make sure your own children are aware of the potential issues that may occur for children over this time.
  • Remember ‘behaviour is language’ and yet often this language is of ‘hidden needs’ – keep your trauma lens focused and your curiosity aroused whilst you navigate your way back to calm with sacksful of acceptance and empathy 😊
  • Include children in all activities, make this a positive time for strengthening relationships, connections, attachments and giving them positive experiences.
  • Plan fun, fun and more fun. Getting into nature is a grounding, free and soul-filling activity.
  • Plan rest, rest and more rest …. Chilled quiet times are so important for both the children and you.
  • Realise the behaviour outbursts are not personal, but a reflection of what may be going on for them.
  • And lastly please remember to schedule in some self-care time for yourself, this is most important for us to stay regulated, and fun 😊

Support Groups

My sincere thank you to the people who keep the local support groups going. Remember how important peer support is. Contact the support group near you to see what is happening…

Please contact the following people for Support Groups in your area:

Invercargill: Rose Rhind 027 497 0132
Woodlands: Barbara Henry 027 436 9371
Gore: Leanne Hallam 027 223 2962
Te Anau: Jane McHardy 027 693 1616
Alexandra: Gilly Darbey (03) 447 4077
Queenstown: Barbara McElligott 027 501 0391

Closed Facebook Group

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates on coffee group and support group times and places. Please, please remember to reach out to your friends and supports in times of need.

Click the link below to join!

Fostering Kids NZ Lower South Support Closed Facebook Group

Its heading into the crazy season of over-commitments and high expectation of ourselves and others. Remember to tread gently where and when you can and look after yourself! Take that extra deep breath, take a longer look at that view, and hold that hand of those you love for slightly longer.

I will be on leave over Christmas from 19 December 2019 until 13 January 2020. 

Fostering Kids NZ National Office will be closed from 24 December to the 6 January. For more information on what to do if you are in need of support during this time, click here.

I will catch up with you all in the New Year.

Koa Kirihimete / Merry Christmas. Thank you for all you do for our tamariki in Care.

Tiaki Koe i a Koe (Take Care of Yourself)

Barbara McElligott


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