When Children’s Services Worker Jennifer Hrstic was first told she was Calgary Region’s Worker of the Year, she was humbled by it, saying, “It’s lovely to know that what you’ve been a part of has helped them too.”

According to her families, Jennifer does more than help them. As noted on her nomination, “Jenn goes above and beyond of what is expected of her.” Jenn seeks out new and innovative ideas for the children in care, tracking down various resources and supports, deeply caring for the children and engaging with them at home visits. She is described as one who sees the big picture, and is empathetic, allowing her foster families the space to be vulnerable and share where they may be struggling, and offers support, not judgment.

Having worked in the field for twenty years, but specifically within foster care for nine years, Jenn is currently back at school to further her education, while simultaneously supporting her families. In fact, it is her families and witnessing the amazing caregiving they provide that prompted her to return to school. “It is inspiring when your everyday work is seeing your families take concepts of trauma-informed care and living them out in daily life; watching them thrive, grow and develop.”

The feeling is clearly mutual. As one of her families shared, “We want her to know that she is valued and appreciated and that her exceptional support to our family (and many others) vastly contributes to our positive experiences so far as a foster family.”