Our Team

Val Carter - Executive Director

Executive Director of Home & Family, Val Carter, has extensive experience in education and social services both here and in the UK. She has worked for CYF, the Ministry of Education, University of Canterbury and has taught at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

Val’s experience of working with young people and their families has enabled her to understand how precious Home & Family’s work is to our community.

Sandra Talbot - Practice leader

As a social worker with over 20 years’ experience, Sandra manages the team of residential family workers who support families participating in our parenting services and accommodation programmes, and offers clinical guidance across all services. She has worked with Home and Family for 18 years and is really proud of the development of its services.

Sandra has always been passionate about ensuring a safe environment and support for families to address their concerns and keep their children in their care. She values Home & Family’s commitment to ongoing training and supervision for staff, which ensures services provided are robust and professional.

MNZASW, Dip Child Protection Studies

Eve Wingerath - Fundraising Manager

Eve has extensive experience in the public and charity sector. Eve previously worked for Ormiston Trust in the UK, a charity which aims to improve the life chances of children and young people, and has taught in primary, secondary and further education in the UK and Asia.

Eve is interested in mental health, empowering women, education, early intervention and working with the whole family. She is passionate about the work and social history of Home and Family.

Natalie Cassidy - Lead Administrator

Natalie is the newest addition to the Home & Family team. She has diverse experience in working with young people and people from all walks of life, having worked at both Hagley College and Upper Coomera State College in Australia for the past 14 years.

Natalie’s strength lies in connecting with others and she embraces the opportunity to provide support wherever she can.

Catalina Corry – Independent Victims Specialist Tamariki (IVST), Ba. Psychology, Dip. Social Sciences

Catalina has a background in psychology and has worked in various roles within the NZ social services field for over a decade. Catalina’s new IVST role has a whanau-centric approach. Her main objectives are to understand children’s individual journeys towards recovery and to help ensure that the needs and safety of children in high risk situations are considered and responded to. 

So much of Catalina’s previous work experience has been focused on assessing and identifying need. The IVST role enables her to use the knowledge she has gained and expand on this experience.


Parenting Team

Melissa Trilford - Residential Social Worker

Melissa very recently joined the Home and Family team as a full time social worker on our parenting programme. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience, including a 20-year history of working in a residential setting.

Melissa is very passionate about families and keeping families together wherever possible.


Carol Watson - Team coordinator and Family Support Worker

Hi I’m Carol Watson and have worked at Home & Family for a number of years.

It’s a privilege to work with a team of people who are committed to supporting families as they navigate the challenges and complexities of parenting with the hope and reassurance that the best interest of the child will always be paramount.

Working with families has been my lifetime’s focus and so for me it’s a very easy fit to be part of the transforming and equipping work that Home & Family does in our community.

Certificate in Social Services and Child Protection Studies

The House Team

As well as Sandra, Melissa and Carol the house is staffed 24/7 by friendly , qualified staff. These women support parents and their children throughout their journey on the programme.

Pictured (L-R): Henny-Jane, Sarah, Mandi, Sandra, Debbie and Carol.

Counselling Team

Guy Adams - Counsellor

Guy has been working at Home & Family for seven years. As well as providing counselling support to families within our residential parenting environment, Guy specialises in CCPT and also works with couples. He has a built a strong reputation for his work with children and young people. Guy places value and respect at the centre of building effective counselling relationships.

B.PRTM, G.Ct.Ls, PG.Ct.Soc.Sci, Dip.Coun, MNZAC

Arijana Ruznic-Beyer - Student Counsellor

Kia ora, my name is Arijana, and I am in the final year of a 3-year Master’s Programme in Arts Therapy.

Arts therapy engages with various forms of creative expression, such as storytelling, poetry, free writing, painting, visualization, drawing, movement and dance. These are the channels through which the person addresses both conscious and subconscious aspects of self.

Each session is structured according to the client’s specific needs, interests and their sense of timing and being in the world. I trust that each person has their own voice and resources within to effect the change that they desire.

I primarily use a combination of somatic and transpersonal therapeutic approaches, which address and release the sensations locked in the body and the subconscious. These approaches include all aspects of self, whilst also addressing our relationships with familial, ancestral, cultural, spiritual and the natural environment.

I am interested in how our experiences and presentations of individual and generational trauma shape our way of being and in their potential to transform it, when appropriately supported. In other words, source of problems can also become source of solutions. Symbolism, metaphor, dreams and myths are powerful tools which I use to encourage subtle awareness of our patterns and conditioning to aid their shift.

Refocus Team

Rudolph Diaz, Kaimahi Whānau, Refocus Team Leader

Rudolph joined the Refocus team at the start of 2017, having been a youth worker for nine years. His experience in this field, alongside his career as a health promoter and time as a truancy officer, provide a solid platform that underpins his practice.

Like Kevin, he most enjoys work in the community and he thinks the community centred and long-term nature of the Refocus programme are essential parts of its success.

‘I love being part of the Refocus team and the wider Home & Family team; there’s real synergy between our work and everyone is supportive. The five-year intervention that Refocus offers allows us to see each family’s journey and allows for far deeper work to take place. There is scope to work with the community to provide wraparound support for families.’

Kevin Hapi, Kaimahi Whānau

With over 25 years’ experience in youth and social work, Kevin is passionate about work in the community. He believes that in addition to being more diverse, working with people in their environment allows services to offer a personal approach and bespoke intervention. He has now been with Refocus for five years and believes that in order for difficult conversations to take place, trust between workers and the families is essential.

‘I love the Refocus programme; we’re allowed to be creative in our approach and the work we do is real and authentic. Others report the progress and changes in the families we work with. It’s a privilege to be allowed into the lives of others.’

Zenn Rarare, Kaimahi Rangitahi

Zenn joined the Refocus Team in 2017. He has extensive experience in the youth sector and is a qualified youth worker.

Kia ora, the name is Zenn.

Working with young people is a huge passion of mine and have been doing this for a few years. I have gained knowledge and experience from numerous organisations, working with different sets of challenges each time.

My other passions are Te Reo Māori, music, worship, watching Kapahaka and basketball.  I am actively involved within the Aranui community and love it as this was the area I grew up in.

The thing I like about Refocus is the wrap-around service that is delivered. Rather than working with the young person alone, development is made throughout the family and I think that’s awesome.

The Refocus team have many skills and work efficiently together. I  am blessed to be a part of the team.