North West News – February 2020

North West RC
Teena Bennett
06 281 1642 or
027 285 6015

Kia ora koutou,

Here we are in February, the year has started in earnest! I hope you are feeling confident about the year ahead! I thought I’d start off this newsletter with a quote from Professor Dan Seigel who states:

“It might not surprise you to hear (or be reminded) that of all the factors in human life that predict the best positives outcomes, supportive relationships are number one.”

Being in wholehearted agreement with this statement, it’s no surprise that support is the focus of my role. Whether over the phone, face to face, through advocacy, support groups, gathering caregivers together through events or providing training, every one of these actions is based on the belief that we do better when we connect and have access to support.

I’m thrilled Fostering Kids New Zealand have supported me with a small move (just down the hall) to a larger office space which is a far more comfortable and welcoming space.

March Celebrations

The start of March is a very important time in the care sector in New Zealand. Sunday 1st March, we kick off the Foster Care Awareness week with Children’s Day.  This is a day to celebrate the importance of tamariki / children in our lives, in our communities and in our society. Children’s Day reminds all of New Zealand how precious our tamariki are and how we all have a responsibility for them collectively.

Following on from the Sunday celebrations, we have Foster Care Awareness Week.  This is a week to highlight the wonderful role you all play in our communities and society too!  It’s a time through all the challenges, to say this role is so vital, important and lifesaving! I know there will be various events planned for this week across Aotearoa. Get in touch with your Agency or Organisation to see what they’re planning. Make sure you are on our Facebook pages so you can get notifications of events we know about. This important week is a time of acknowledging and appreciating the challenging and rewarding role you and your whanau / family undertake. 

In my role as Regional Coordinator, I connect with a cross section of caregivers who share different facets of their day to day lives with me. These conversations reflect the tremendous commitment and multiplicity of roles they undertake for tamariki in their care. In the Northwest region during Fostercare Awareness Week there will be a morning tea in New Plymouth and an afternoon tea in Whanganui to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of the caregiver role. See dates below and save the date.

Echo Bignall, Oranga Tamariki’s Caregiver Recruitment and Support Manager for the Taranaki/Manawatu Region will be a special guest at our events. At the Whanganui and New Plymouth events we will hear from guests who share a korero (conversation) on the ‘Caregiver/Social work’ relationship.

New Plymouth
Monday 2nd March 10.30am to 12.00pm
Location: The Barnardo Lounge, 186 Tukapa Street, New Plymouth.

Tuesday 3rd March 1.00 to 2.45pm
Location: Hakeke Street Library, 65 Hakeke Street, Wanganui East, Whanganui.

Please watch out for emails coming in and messages on our Facebook page to RSVP.

Excellence in Foster Care Awards: Friday 6th March 2020

To round out Foster Care Awareness Week, we will be celebrating the winners of the Excellence in Foster Care Awards! This year it will be held in Wellington. These amazing recipients will be announced closer to the date.

One-off School Start Up Fund

School and year start up fund applications are open until the 28th February for those receiving the Unsupported Child’s Benefit or the Orphans’ Benefit. Make sure you apply for this one-off grant of between $400 – $550 (depending on the child’s age). Click on button below to find out more.


Self-care is important at any time of the year. Often the transition back into the school term is a challenging time for us as our tamariki adapt back into routines. Their internal fears of new teachers, new classrooms, new friends and new expectations can create turmoil that is expressed through behaviour. Acceptance and empathetic environments are the most effective ways to a stress-free beginning to the school day. Parenting tamariki with special needs, developmental trauma and/ or challenging behaviour is undeniably stressful. If you get a chance to read our article, then please take it. If you don’t get a chance, try and create an opportunity to do so as sometimes we just have to stop, make a cuppa and do something for ourselves.


Our Term One training schedule is now live! We are very excited to introduce a new 3 hour Workshop Discussion Session – Understanding the National Care Standards. Click the button below to find out more and to register.

I really enjoyed facilitating the Life Story Work Discussion sessions last term. It is a very personal and valuable part of practice for all involved in the care of a child. I was inspired by my colleagues who gave some practical and creative examples of their own contributions to both children in permanent, transitional and respite care. I’d like to run this again later in the year.

Support Groups

PACE Parenting Support Group
Join other caregivers and foster parents who are exploring parenting through a ‘trauma informed lens.’

We get together for a couple of hours, allowing time for sharing the challenges you may be experiencing in a non-judge-mental environment. Explore what was successful, what wasn’t and what you could do differently next time. 

Dates for Term One:
Tuesday 18th February 9.30am – 11.30am
Tuesday 31st March 9.30am – 11.30am

Venue: Fostering Kids New Zealand office,
28 Young Street, New Plymouth

Any questions just ask; or 0272856015

Whanganui Foster Carer’s Support Group

This group is open to anyone looking after children, not born of them, whether full time or for respite. Our focus is on supporting each other where you can share the good, the bad and the ugly whilst building friendships for both ourselves and the children in our care. You may not want to share at all and that is perfectly fine – sometimes its as simple as knowing there are others in the same boat and you’re not alone.
Contact Bev McKay on

Whanganui Foster Care Association Inc

Supporting foster carers & their families in the Whanganui region for over 30 years. Please call Noeline on 027 4594349, Peter 06 343 8263 or Dyan 021 816 361 for more information.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Please feel welcome to contact Diane: email: or call: 0211851097

Next Meetings: Tuesday 4 February – 9.30am to 11.30am
Location: 216 Devon St West, ‘Pukekura Room’

Urenui Support group
The first Tuesday, bi-monthly thereafter – May, July, September, November.

Starts back Tuesday 5th March 10.00am
Location: 153 Waitoetoe Road

Morning tea, coffee and tea are provided. Your welcome to bring along unused children’s clothing to exchange. Caregivers can bring lunch for themselves and little ones if you don’t need to rush away. The aim is to connect and support each other. I look forward to meeting new caregivers.

Contact Janine on 027 419 2898 or (06) 752 3096.

Have you joined our closed Facebook Group?

As a member of Fostering Kids NZ you have exclusive access to our CLOSED Facebook groups. These are only open to caregivers that are members of Fostering Kids NZ. This allows our members a platform to seek support, information and resources. If you are not already a member search Fostering Kids NZ Northwest Support, and request to join the group. It’s easy and it’s free!

Click the link below to join:

Fostering Kids NZ Northwest Support Facebook Page

Nga mihi,


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