Children’s Social Worker of the Year


Joy Manley


AWARD(S): Children's Social Worker of the Year


“Joy has the perfect name for what she brought to us, and she helped make us a family”. This is just one of the moving testimonies from Joy’s nomination, which describes a practitioner who has had a hugely positive impact on the lives of children and families in her care.


Joy, who is a Family Court Advisor in the Black Region, qualified in 1979 and joined a medical social work team before quickly realising she was destined to work with children and young people.


She joined Cafcass in 2009, a time of significant challenge and change. The average case duration in the Birmingham region was 58 weeks and numerous areas of concern were highlighted by Ofsted.


Joy immediately became part of the change. She was instrumental in driving practice improvements, working alongside colleagues to eliminate backlogs, triage cases and ensure children received appropriate support. This resulted in a 31% reduction in average case duration and the region is now rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.


Her experience of complex case work, ability to communicate effectively with parents and gain the trust of children is respected by colleagues in Cafcass and the wider region. Her energy, pride and dedication to achieving the best outcome for children were commended by the judges.


Joy stood out as an exceptional candidate for her dedication to social work throughout her career. She has consistently taken on extra projects from mentoring less experienced team members to a project encompassing the whole of the British Isles.

Anne Longfield OBE, Children’s Commissioner for England

Joy’s commitment takes energy and dedication above and beyond her day job. Like some of the best social workers I have met, the profession is not just a job to her, it is a way of life and this really shone through in the nomination.

Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work

Patient and with empathy galore, always focused on being the voice of the most vulnerable, Joy has made a remarkable difference to the lives of children with whom she has been working throughout her career.

Ana Popovici, Assistant Director, Cafcass

We couldn’t have asked for anyone better to get us through a very hard time. The children’s best interests were certainly Joy’s focus but she also took our feelings and needs into account. I cannot speak highly enough of the support we received from her.

Parent feedback



Stephen Field, Lincolnshire County Council

Fern Haward, Oxfordshire County Council

Sylvana Keenan, Bradford Council

Cerrianne Evans, Sheffield City Council

Skip to content