At KVC Nebraska, we have so many dedicated and passionate employees who work to improve the lives of the children, teens and families that we serve every single day. We want you to meet some of those people who help make a difference. Meet Ashley Hein, a Foster Care Specialist who joined the KVC Nebraska team in 2015! Ashley supports foster families, kinship families and youth. Ashley makes herself available around the clock to provide support, advocacy and guidance to her families. In this Q&A interview, she shares more about her role and what drives her to do the work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have a cat named Kit and my children have a pet snake, frog and turtle. I’m not too crazy about the snake but my daughter loves him, so I guess I’m ok with that. I am the oldest of seven children. My hobbies include playing games, baking, traveling, hunting, fishing, camping and spending time with my family.
What made you choose social work as a career?
I am deeply passionate about helping the youth in the child welfare system realize that they didn’t deserve what happened to them or the trauma and neglect they may have experienced. I hope to show them that what happened to them doesn’t define who they are. I strive to show them that they can be loved unconditionally, and that they can do anything they set their mind to. It brings me great joy to watch these children grow and accomplish their goals.
Can you describe what it is like for you to work at KVC?
The atmosphere at KVC is uplifting and upbeat. When I walk into work, I’m met with smiles and can hear laughter down the hall because people love what they do and it shows. I can always count on my coworkers to be there for me no matter what kind of day I’ve had.
Describe a proud working moment.
I have several proud working moments, but I will try to choose just one! I don’t expect recognition for the work that I do, but I take pride in when my foster parents thank me for supporting them and doing something that helps the youth in their home be successful. That’s something I do every single day – I advocate for the children and teens in our care. They are the ones that should have their lives disrupted as little as possible, be shown that they have caring adults working for them and be in a safe and loving home so that they can live a healthy life.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
What I find most rewarding about my job is the relationships that I have built with my coworkers, foster parents and youth. I also like seeing a child take the steps toward becoming successful. Those are some of the most rewarding times for me because that’s what I care most about – is if these kids are healthy and happy.
Do you have any advice for the clients you work with?
For foster families and kinship families, I would say that it is not easy to take in a child that’s not biologically your own. Most things won’t magically fall into place without having bumps in the road and working on them. I would tell these families to just know that you are not alone and the staff at KVC will be here to help you along the way, at each step, at each tough day and each happy day. I would also advise any future foster parents and current foster parents to take the trainings that KVC offers so that you can learn to better understand how trauma can affect a child’s daily life. It’s such an important part of helping these children and teens recover and live healthy lives. Learn as much as you can so you can help them overcome the trauma they have endured.
Ashley Hein works among a team of caring, passionate people at KVC Nebraska. All of our staff are committed to improving the lives of children and families in the community.