Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker of the Year


Zahraa Adam

ORGANISATION: Essex County Council

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


The judges described Zahraa’s entry as “excellent” and said that she is making a contribution to the profession that would normally be associated with more experienced colleagues.


Zahraa is a member of the Children in Care Specialist Team working with unaccompanied asylum seeking children, in addition to other groups. She is a passionate, innovative and creative practitioner and is using all of these traits to successfully engage with service users.


Throughout her first assessed year in practice, Zharaa has demonstrated her professionalism and reliability and continues to grow in confidence. The judges were particularly impressed to hear of an instance where she identified a difficulty in matching unaccompanied asylum seeking children with foster carers. She addressed this by reaching out to her own community and engaging them with fostering.


Zahraa is committed to enhancing her knowledge of the psychological, social, cultural and physical influences on her clients and takes full advantage of further learning opportunities which she applies to her practice. She managed an increasingly complex case load during her ASYE year, including a high profile adoption case where her written report was commended by High Court Judge, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court. He described it as a “long, detailed and impressive document”.


Zahraa shows a genuine empathy and understanding of the young people that she works with and is very proactive in responding to their needs. She builds trusting relationships with them and makes them feel listened to and valued.

Kay Mehrtens, Independent Reviewing Officer

The entry for Zahraa shows she is a careful, thoughtful and passionate social worker. I was impressed with how she is using imaginative ideas to break into new cultures, going the extra mile to achieve positive outcomes for service users.

Jenni Randall, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2013

Zahraa is able to be creative with resources and will put herself whole heartedly into new ideas. She shows a genuine vitality, interest, warmth, empathic resonance and humour.

Melissa Jiggins, Senior Practitioner, Essex County Council

Zahraa is very understanding and supportive and she listens to what I have to say. I think she is going to help me a lot in the future to go to college, join a gym and go to church.

Service user


Julian Wild, Southwark Council


Jenny Cragg, Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Theresa Olivero, Southampton City Council

Elise Houston, Newcastle City Council

Amy Sibun, Norfolk County Council

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