Kia ora koutou / Greetings everyone,
Wow, we are half way through the year already. We have past the shortest day, had the winter-fest in Queenstown, the mid-winter swim at Oreti beach, the Southland Fostercare Mid-Winter Dinner in Invercargill and the Fostercare Support Group Matariki celebrations in Gore and Alexandra.
It was so good to catch up with you all around the region. If you have any thoughts or ideas about events for the coming 12 months, please share them with a Regional Committee member or myself so we can put them in the mix when planning for the region.
It is great seeing the support groups in Te Anau and Gore rekindle and flourish again. It is my hope that we get one up and running in the Queenstown area also. If you happen to be in the Queenstown area, please contact me about what’s being planned.
On top of all the social functions held over the last month, we have also been talking about the legislation changes that were introduced on 1 July 2019. It is so important that you are aware that the Oranga Tamariki Act is online to refer to when you need to. There is also the introduction of the National Care Standards taking place too. We’ve been told that for current Caregivers, there wont’ be any immediate change, although ultimately, supports for Caregivers will change and improve as the National Care Standards are put into practice. If you are concerned about anything, please check in with your Caregiver Social Worker at their 8-weekly visits with you.
Did you see in the media that the Minister for Children, Tracey Martin, has called for a “Review of financial assistance for Caregivers”? This is the first-time a thorough review has been done across the Unsupported Child Benefit and Fostercare allowances- regardless of the agency you care for. You would have seen an email from us or Oranga Tamariki. Read the article through the following link: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/financial-support-foster-carers-be-reviewed
During July we have school holidays, so we will be offering training in Te Anau and Gore on “Living With Trauma Experienced Children” during August, and for Alexandra & Invercargill on “Safety and Prevention” during August and September. As Caregivers it is so important that we are aware of the risk of allegations against us and in this workshop, we discuss this at length. Please go through to our website to register yourself. Knowledge is so empowering, and the discussions we have are very stimulating. Come along and be part of them.
And lastly, thank you all so very much for your big hearts, nurturing presence, tenacity and abundant energy that you share with our tamariki, so they can thrive and grow. You all do an amazing job. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
My sincere thanks to the following people for making these groups happen. Remember how important peer support is. Contact the support group near you to see what is happening…
Invercargill: Contact Rose Rhind 0274970132
Woodlands: Contact Barbara Henry 0274369371
Gore: Contact Leanne Hallam 0272232962
Te Anau: Contact Jane McHardy 0276931616
Alexandra: Contact Gilly Darbey (03)447-4077
Queenstown: Contact Barbara McElligott 0275010391
Kia kaha, Kia manawanui, Kia tūpato/Be strong, be courageous, be safe!
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