Meet Aileen Ashford, our CEO
Aileen Ashford cites three main passions in her life: Essendon Football Club, small dogs and fighting for social justice. And while the first two may spark some debate, there’s zero doubt the latter passion makes her ideal to lead our organisation.
Aileen’s commitment to social justice and ensuring children thrive, no matter their starting point in life, are threads that bind the fabric of her more than 30-year career. With a background in education and social work, she has focused on implementation of programs designed to enhance the lives of vulnerable children and their families across government and community services organisations.
Prior to leading Kids First, Aileen was the Children’s Commissioner in Tasmania, a role that required advocacy and strategic leadership on issues affecting the wellbeing, care and protection of young people across Tasmania. Aileen was most proud of developing mechanisms to engage children and young people, to give them a voice on the state-wide laws, policies and services that impacted them.
In 2018, Aileen led our organisation through one of the most significant transformations in our 120-plus years history. We restructured our business, redesigned our service model and shed our former name ‘Children’s Protection Society’ (CPS). While determined to retain our proud history, the bold new brand and name, Kids First, is far more indicative of our progressive, contemporary mindset.
It was Aileen who wrote our new tagline, ‘Kids are at the heart of everything we do’. And it’s not surprising really, given the statement essentially summarises the purpose of her whole working life.