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Summit Programme 2016

Day One - Wednesday 7 September 2016

8.30        Registration and Coffee

8.50        Karakia and Mihi

8.55        Welcome 

Diane Vivian, Founder and Executive Trustee, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ

9.00    Opening Remarks from the Chair
David White, Trustee, GRG Trust NZ, Writer and Anti-Violence Campaigner

9.10    Hearing the Children’s Voices: 
Reflections on being Parented by Grandparents

In the last ten years the number of grandparents raising grandchildren has risen dramatically in Euro-Western societies around the world. Extensive research has been conducted on the impact of this phenomenon on the caregivers but little is known of the lived experiences of the children themselves.  For the first time in New Zealand grandchildren parented by their grandparents were invited to give voice to their lived experiences in this Master’s Thesis Research. This session discusses their reflections on:
●    Their struggles, understanding and awareness of the social, legal and economic implications of the grandparent caregiver phenomenon
●    The kind of support needed for caregivers and children
●    What policy and practice changes ought to be made?

Sharon Lee, M.Ed. Waikato University, Researcher

9.50     Hear Our Voices: 
Grandparent Whanau Caregivers Have Their Say!

Earlier this year, we reached out through the GRG networks, local neighbourhood groups, libraries, community organisations and online networks to find as many as possible of the 9500 grandparent/kin families who are raising their children’s children. In the end, over 1100 responses were received. 

For the first time, the results of our research will be unveiled.  They reveal a complex, nuanced story of struggle, disappointment, unexpected events, but also of joy and delight.  

This talk will cover the main findings of the study, and a summary of findings will also be available.

Dr Liz Gordon, Director, Pukeko Research Ltd

10.40    Open Forum and Q&A

11.00    Morning tea

11.20    What Every Grandparent and Whanau Caregiver Needs to Know About “P”

Methamphetamine (“P”) is the biggest social catastrophe for this generation and over the past 15+ years and in that time has been one of the leading causes why children go into grandparent, whanau and foster care.   Today teenagers are being targeted with sophisticated methods by people protecting a multi-million-dollar trade. Are your teenagers prepared and able to cope with this pressure? As the caregivers of vulnerable children and young people it is imperative that you know how to guide your teenagers so that they don’t make the wrong choices and fall prey to this drug.  

Christina Stroud, CEO,

12.10    Lunch

Focusing on the Needs of the Vulnerable Child in Practice

Over 60,000 children and young people are notified to Child Youth and Family each year with concerns about their safety and welfare. Around one in ten of those children will end up in Foster Care, following assessment, intervention and a declaration that they need care and protection.  Most remain with their parents or go into whanau or grandparent care with little involvement by Child Youth and Family and limited access to the support services needed. In two parts these issues are considered with a Case Study followed by an examination of the changes being introduced to the current child protection framework.

1.10    Addressing the Needs of the Vulnerable Child:
What Happens in the Real World? 

Examining a typical case study of a child presenting with a range of complex needs, the panel will consider the following in the context of both grandparent/whanau care and foster care the:  
●    Legal status of care and its impact on eligibility for support and assistance.
●    The needs and best interests of the child:

– How should these be met?
– How are they likely to be addressed in each scenario? 

●    What needs to change?

Grandparent/Whanau Care Perspective:  Ashna Storey, Grandparent Caregiver & former Social Worker
Foster Care Perspective:  Sandy McPhee, Director Next Steps Training Ltd
Support Services Perspectives:
Nancy Jelavich, Service Manager Foster Care, Barnardos
Jonelle McNeill, Operations Manager Upper North, Barnardos

2.20    Keynote Address from the Minister for Social Development: 
Transformational Change and a Focus on Children

Putting “children and young people in Child Youth and Family care at the centre of everything it does” is at the heart of a much heralded “transformational change” and overhaul of Child Youth and Family services following a substantial review by an Expert Panel in 2015.  
Thousands of children are notified to Child Youth and Family each year, and yet often no formal intervention, assessment or family group conference takes place when a grandparent or member of the whanau steps in during the initial crisis to care for them. 
●    What responsibility does the State have to these children in grandparent care?
●    What support is there for them?   
●    Will the changes to CYF services affect these children?
●    What initiatives are planned to support full-time grandparent/whanau caregivers and children in their care?

Honourable Anne Tolley, Minister for Social Development

2.50    Open Forum and Q&A

3.10    Afternoon Tea

3.30    Vulnerable Children and the New Child Protection Framework

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014, ushers in major changes and a new framework to protect and address the needs of vulnerable children:
●    How does the new framework work? 
●    Who is affected by it and the:
●    Key changes to Children Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989
●    Impact on parenting orders under the Care of Children Act 2004
●    Access to support services
●    What are our obligations as caregivers?
●    When to ask for help and where to get it?

Rebecca Barson, National Manager Care, Child Youth and Family 

4.20        Panel Wrap Up and Open Forum
Ashna Storey, Grandparent Caregiver & former Social Worker
Sandy McPhee, Director Next Steps Training Ltd
Nancy Jelavich, Service Manager, Foster Care, Barnardos 
Jonelle McNeill, Operations Manager Upper North, Barnardos
Rebecca Barson, National Manager Care, Child Youth and Family

4.50    Closing Remarks from the Chair

5.00    Day One Concludes

7.00    Summit Dinner, Novotel Ellerslie

Day Two - Thursday 8 September 2016

7.00 to 8.30    Internal GRG Training for Support Coordinators and Field Officers 

8.50        Opening Remarks from the Chair

WORKSHOPS  9am to 1.10pm
Decoding Why Children Behave the Way They Do and Coping with Troubling Behaviour

“Often the children who need our love the most have the most unloving ways of asking for it.”
 - Di Vivian, Founder, GRG Trust NZ

For over 95% of families the GRG Trust NZ works with, the children are in grandparent whanau care following a breakdown in the family, often due to the parents’ substance abuse, violence, mental illness and neglect. 

Without their grandparent whanau caregivers stepping in, these children would otherwise be in foster care.  Providing a loving home is the first step to keeping these children safe and secure, but the effects of past trauma can be long-term, manifesting in extremely challenging and difficult behaviour for which caregivers often need training and expert support. 

Additionally, there are many children being raised by grandparents who are affected by sensory processing differences and sit somewhere on the Autism Spectrum or have ADHD.  A different approach to understanding and coping with their behaviour is required.

In these two solutions-focused workshops, caregivers will learn practical tips and techniques to better help them in their caregiver role.

NOTE: The Summit programme concludes at 1.10pm with Lunch for all delegates and is followed by further internal GRG Training for Support Coordinators and Field Officers.

WORKSHOP 1        9.00 am to 10.50am    
Practical Tips and Strategies for Parenting Children Affected by Trauma

●    What is early life trauma?
●    Attachment and what happens when it isn’t secure
●    Survival is not naughty
●    Regulation and why the brain needs to be calm
●    Audit your environment
●    Let’s talk about play....

Julie O’Brien, Stand for Children's Services Tu Maia Whanau

Stand for Children's Services Tu Maia Whanau is a charity providing Intensive Family Wraparound social services including Therapeutic Care and Education to children aged 5 to 12 and their families. Stand also provides a Family Therapy service for children 0-17 (including unborns) and their families, School Social Work service and a Kidzacool Adventures holiday programme. Stand’s work aims to transform the lives of children and young people who are at significant risk of harm to their well-being as a consequence of the environment in which they are being raised and their own complex needs. For each child they seek to develop their capacity to live in healthy, hopeful relationships with others.  On this depends all of the other necessary outcomes which contribute to their ability to enjoy life and reach their potential.

For more information about Stand and the work they do please go to 

10.50    Morning Tea

WORKSHOP 2    11.10am to 1.10pm
Parenting Children with ASD, ADHD and Cognitive Differences

For individuals who experience sensory processing differences, ordering priorities or meeting the expectations of others and the world around them frequently results in anxious, confused or oppositional behaviour.  Children and teenagers may be undiagnosed and high functioning or diagnosed with such labels as Autism, Aspergers, OCD, ADHD, DYSPRAXIA, ADD, ODD and many others. 

The caregivers of these children and teenagers discover the standard parenting rules or boundaries do not apply or cannot resonate with the way their children or teenagers think and act.  In each case it can create significant challenges for all concerned.

This workshop is designed for caregivers and professionals who work in close association with children and teenagers affected by sensory processing differences.

Sue Haldane, Mind Over Manner

MIND OVER MANNER looks at how to adjust their negative world view, to recognise the onset of a meltdown and how manage a positive meltdown recovery process for all of those involved. It uses Applied Theatre Techniques Techniques and works with theatre practitioners to re-construct highly-charged events drawn from life experiences and exercises that deliver “active-reality” scenarios so that participants have the chance to reassess their responses to these most difficult moments. The MIND OVER MANNER workshops are guaranteed to be an extremely valuable ,entertaining and eye opening experience

"I learned more in two hours than I could have learned in several all-day seminars. What an experience!"

 - Diane Levy. Family Therapist, Counsellor, Parenting Coach, Author


MIND OVER MANNER is a charity organisation that presents workshops designed to strengthen the communication and connection with those children who think, learn and work differently.

For more information please go to


About us 

Grandparents Raising GrandchildrenTM Trust NZ (GRG) is a registered Charitable Trust operating throughout New Zealand providing support services to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren on a full-time basis. Our vision is for a community where grandparents raising grandchildren are empowered to provide a safe, secure and nurturing home for their grandchildren.

Charities Commission Registration CC20205

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Te tautoko i nga tupuna, mokopuna me te whanau.
Te awhina ia ratou ki te whakatutuki i nga putanga
pai i roto i to raatau oranga.
Supporting grandparents, grandchildren and whanau
to achieve positive outcomes in their lives.  



Contact us

Member Support 
Outside Auckland Freephone
0800 472 637      

Auckland Landline or Mobile Phone Callers
(09) 418 3753 

National Support Office
9:00am - 2:00pm
09 418 3753

PO Box 34-892
Auckland 0746
New Zealand

Email GRG Office

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