About Family Network
Family Network NZ is a family-led, non-profit agency founded by three mums - Bridget, Cindy and Sue.
More than 25 years ago we connected over a shared vision for how we wanted to raise our children with disabilities. All of us were deeply committed to ensuring all of our children were fully included in the ordinary places and spaces in our communities.
How much choice and control do you currently have?
We’re proud to say that (Alex, Jamie, and Carly) are now fully-grown, capable, independent adults living full lives. In 2016 we established Family Network NZ to share what our families learned over the years.
Our commitment is to help you and your family think about what’s possible, build a plan and take action to secure the best future for your family members with disabilities.
“Belonging and connection are at the heart of relationships. It’s connection not control that cultivates cooperation, trust, love, resilience and independence.”
A mother of a man who has Down Syndrome. As a parent, Bridget has mentored and supported many family leaders over the past 30 years. She has acquired a good understanding of the role that families have in the crafting of fully inclusive lives for a disabled family member.
Bridget’ professional and voluntary experiences have involved governance, service delivery, and management roles in the disability sector. It is work she is deeply passionate about.
A parent and chartered accountant with many years of experience in the commercial sector. Neil knows what it takes to bring about change within families, communities, systems, governance and policies that enable a family member to live well.
Cindy Johns has over 30 years of working in both the disability sector and in social services in voluntary and professional capacities. Cindy is a parent of a young man with an intellectual disability, she is a practiced presenter, advocate and facilitator and has led many successful projects. Cindy is national manager for People First and works part time for Joining the Dots.
Adviser and Family Leader
Has many years of experience as a teacher, parent support group coordinator, Intensive Service Coordinator (NASC), ASD Advisor, Project Manager, National Manager Family Strategy Workshop Facilitator, her influential role has been as a mother.
Adviser and Family Leader
A parent of a teenager with intellectual disabilities, Jo has had over a decade of hands on experience dealing with intellectual disability in a family, education and community setting. She is a strong advocate of inclusion in education and local communities.
What we believe
People with disabilities should be in control of their lives.
People with disabilities should have support that is tailored to their individual needs and goals, and that takes a whole life approach rather than being split across programs.
Ordinary life outcomes
People with disabilities should be supported to live an everyday life in everyday places. They should be regarded as citizens with opportunities for learning, employment, having a home and family, and social participation – like others at similar stages of life.
People with disabilities should be supported to access mainstream services before specialist disability services.
The abilities and contributions of people with disabilities and their families should recognised and respected.
Easy to use
People with disabilities should have supports that are simple to use and flexible.