Our Team

Val Carter - Executive Director

Executive Director of Home & Family, Val Carter, has experience in education and social services both here and in the UK. She has worked for Oranga Tamariki, 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

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 20 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

Natalie Cassidy - Operations Manager

Natalie has diverse experience in working with young people and people from all walks of life.

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

Natalie oversees the day to day operations here at Home & Family.

Claire Quinn - Operations Manager

Claire has substantial experience in the corporate sector, having worked at businesses both in the UK and NZ.  Claire relishes the change and the challenges that working in the charity sector presents.  Qualified with a Bachelor of Social Science, Majoring in Business Management gives Claire a unique understanding of the importance of social relationships in a child’s formative years, through to adulthood. Claire thrives on organising and coordinating events, drawing on her work and study experience to ensure functions run smoothly and successfully.

Claire enjoys most forms of exercise (but in particular football), baking and is also a qualified nail artist.

Claire is currently on maternity leave until early 2022.

Sue Martin - Grants and Funding Coordinator

Sue is driven in her new-found passion for working within the social services sector. Sue’s business acumen from 20 years operating her own company enables her to plan and implement new strategies for marketing and funding. Sue enjoys using her own creativity to make real changes in the lives of Canterbury’s children and families.

Sue who is originally from the West Coast, is the proud Mum of two girls and loves spending time with her family.

Michelle Teo - Lead Administrator

Michelle is our new, friendly face on the frontline! She has a varied background, from years of experience in sales/customer service to freelance videography. Michelle is relishing the opportunity to work in a child/youth-focused environment with like-minded, caring individuals. She is very passionate about film, particularly the authentic representation of NZ/Pasifika youth, and feels very fortunate to be a part of a team that is whole-heartedly dedicated to creating better outcomes for our children and youth.

Lily Thompson - Marketing and Social Media Coordinator

Lily is a recent addition to the Home and Family team!
As the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, she spends her time designing and scheduling posts to ensure integrated communications are present across our social media platforms.
Lily has an educational background in marketing with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Canterbury, as well as years of experience in customer service and caring for children. Her areas of interest include design, event management, and social media marketing.

Parenting Team

The House Team

The house is staffed with friendly and professional Whānau Support Workers, 24 hours a day. The team are there to give help and guidance to parents during their journey with Home & Family.

Hamish Mepham - Social Worker

Hamish is a registered social worker who has been working in the parenting area for several years. He is dedicated to evidence-based practice and has a passion for strengthening families by opening up trusting dialogues and exploring whanau strengths.

Outside of work Hamish is a musician and a father, and has been married to his amazing wife for 10 years.

Child Therapy Team

Kama Frankling - Child & Youth Therapist

Kama is a creative therapist with a focus on confidence building, resilience, and healing from trauma. She adapts the therapy sessions to meet the needs, and individuality, of the client.

Laura Hall - Group Programme Facilitator

Laura comes to Home & Family with over 10 years of experience in developing and facilitating parenting and wellbeing programmes. In her role as group programme facilitator, she will be creating and presenting a parenting series to support the ongoing needs of the families we work with. Laura has a passion for conscious parenting and uses a strength-based approach that encourages families to look behind the behaviour.

Juanine Lim - Child & Youth Therapist

Juanine is a child and youth therapist who has culturally informed awareness of persons, as she has lived in South Africa and Asia.  She believes that therapy is a collaborative process and guides clients to increase self-awareness, gain new perspectives, decrease symptoms, and increase personal strengths to have a more meaningful life experience. Juanine has experience in anxiety, depression, behavioural issues, suicide prevention, sexual harm, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and has gained specialized skills in trauma informed care.  Juanine utilizes mainly two therapeutic approaches: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and Neuropsychology. These approaches place a child-focus on her work that allow young people to explore therapy through, art, play, movement and storytelling, giving them a voice in a safe place where they feel heard.

Holly Smith - Child & Youth Therapist

Holly is a child and youth therapist with a focus on coping with anxiety, emotional regulation, and healing from trauma. She has a background in Psychology and Sociology and is currently working towards a PhD based on emotional regulation and trauma in children caused by the Christchurch Earthquakes. Holly also has experience working with children with intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviours.


My name is Ben and I am a 3-year-old Border Collie!

I am super friendly and like making new friends. Holly is my mum and I like to hang out with her at work sometimes.

I love belly rubs and treats! My favorite place is the beach and I love to play football and rugby.

Whānau Safety

Stephenie van den Anker - Kaiarahi Tamariki & Whānau Resilience

Steph joined the Home & Family in March 2019. She has a background in personal training and culture performance.

Steph’s passion for community and hauora (health) and brings with her an understanding of Te Whare Tapa Wha, which is greatly valued by the team. In her spare time, Steph runs a community hauora initiative, where she can engage with whānau, and works on inter-generational health.

Steph is currently on maternity leave until early 2022.

Luke Penrose - Kaiarahi Rangatahi

Luke joined Home & Family in May 2019 and has a background in support work for adolescents focusing on both mental health and intellectual disabilities. He is driven to make positive, proactive steps in his journey alongside children and young people. 

He enjoys adding his values of good communication and active listening to his work, acknowledging the importance of being accepted, understood and heard. 

Zara Robson – Kaimahi Tamariki

Having spent the last 11 years in the fitness industry with a background in management, Zara has always had a deep desire to help individuals who require a greater need of support and guidance.

Studying both counselling and childcare many years ago, it has been a long term dream of Zara’s to assist our vulnerable tamariki.

“Through understanding and support I believe that children can better connect with themselves and others, enabling them to heal and establish meaningful relationships throughout their journey in life.”

Katie Daly - Kaimahi Whānau

Katie has a background in the criminal justice sector, having spent six years with the Department Of Corrections as a Probation Officer. Prior to this Katie was a youth worker, working with young people with alcohol and drug issues in a residential setting. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2014 from Christchurch Polytechnic Institute Of Technology. 

Aroha; manaakitangakaitiakitangawhakawhanaungatanga, and working in a trauma informed way are all strong values that underpin Katie’s practice 

Katie is a proud mum to a young daughter who keeps her very busy and in her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, and photography

Holly McNabb - Kaiarahi Tamariki

Holly joins Home & Family with extensive experience in the mental health service sector, and specialised experience dealing with drug and alcohol abuse with young people.  Holly gained her Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Psychology at Canterbury University. She has a passion for helping youth, ensuring they have a chance to reach their full potential and overcome any obstacles they may face. Holly has the drive to constantly learn and develop to help get the best outcome for the youth she works with.

Jay van Gerwen - Kaimahi Whānau Resilience

Jay has over 20-years experience working with children and their whānau as well as parenting/step-parenting five children of her own. Jay has a BA (hons) in Child and Family Psychology and is currently completing her Master’s thesis relating to parenting and infant mental health. Jay is dedicated to working alongside families as they build on their strengths and overcome difficulties. Jay brings an extensive understanding of trauma, adverse childhood experiences and family systems. Drawing from a range of approaches, Jay can support the whole whānau – children, youth, parents, caregivers, and extended family – as they journey together toward greater wellbeing.

“Whiria te tāngata – Weave the people together” – Maori Proverb