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Young girl with an intellectual disability doing crafts with her grandma

About Family Network

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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.

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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.

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“Belonging and connection are at the heart of relationships. It’s connection not control that cultivates cooperation, trust, love, resilience and independence.”

Young man with Down Syndrome working in an office
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Our Team

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Bridget Snedden

Executive Director

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.

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Neil Robertson


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.

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Cindy Johns


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.

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Sue Robertson

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.

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Joanne Blair

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.

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NZ family watching a movie
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What we believe


Disability Advocate and man with Down Syndrome Alex Snedden speaking to an audience

People with disabilities should be in control of their lives.


Young Kiwi man with Down Syndrome and his two siblings

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

Kiwi family mum and dad and little girl with Down Syndrome

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.

Mainstream first

Young man with an intellectual disability at a business meeting

People with disabilities should be supported to access mainstream services before specialist disability services.

Mana enhancing

A Hongi between mother and son with Down Syndrome

The abilities and contributions of people with disabilities and their families should recognised and respected.

Easy to use

Young man with Down Syndrome working on a computer

People with disabilities should have supports that are simple to use and flexible.

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