Meet Tori Hensley, the new staff trainer for the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy!
Tori is deeply passionate about serving individuals impacted by the child welfare system, specifically providing relatives and kin caregivers with support, advocacy and education as they navigate the complexities and challenges of the foster care system.
- What is your job title, and what will you be doing? I’m a Staff Trainer with the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy. I will be providing child welfare training (specifically our Foundations training) to child welfare staff throughout the state.
- Tell us about your education and/or work experience prior to joining the MNCWTA. I graduated from the University of Minnesota with my Bachelors in Family Social Science and worked in a variety of non-profit settings from Career Services to Housing Case Management prior to beginning work in the Child Welfare Field. In child welfare, I’ve worked in Child Foster Care Licensing and Foster Care Program Management, serving primarily relative and kin caregivers.
- What do you enjoy most about your work? In previous positions, the parts of my work that I enjoyed the most were providing families with support, education and advocacy while they navigated the challenges and complexities of the child welfare system. I envision that the thing I will enjoy most as a Staff Trainer will be engaging child welfare staff in conversation and learning to improve outcomes for children and families.
- What are you most passionate about professionally? I am most passionate about working to build a more equitable and less violent and racist child welfare system. The disparities that are present in our child welfare system, specifically around overrepresentation of Families of Color require immediate and continuous action on micro and macro levels. Engaging new and existing Child Welfare staff in conversation and education about worker implicit bias, systemic racism, historical trauma and the power and privilege they hold within their professional roles is crucial to impacting needed change and I feel incredibly privileged to be in a position in which I’m able to work towards this change.
- What are you most passionate about personally? I’m engaged in social justice advocacy and am passionate about building a strong and supportive community for my son to thrive in as he continues to grow.
- What are you surprisingly good at? (or what do you wish you were good at)? I never considered myself to be creative until COVID-19 required me to spend more time at home and pick up some new hobbies. I took up floral arrangement during this time and have grown to love creating floral arrangements for my friends and family. A skill that I wish that I were better at is dancing - but what I lack in skill, I make up for in enthusiasm (and can regularly be found dancing around my kitchen while cooking).
- What do you like to do outside of work? Outside of work I love to spend time with my 2.5-year-old son Theodore, my friends and family and our dog Nestle. I enjoy caring for my many houseplants, hiking, traveling, and am always listening to music and working on a new playlist.