Outstanding Contribution


Professor June Thoburn

AWARD(S): Outstanding Contribution

June Thoburn has always been a champion for children and families. She started her career as a child care officer in the early 1960s, specialising in preventative child and family social work. She practised in both England and Canada, before becoming a professor of social work at the University of East Anglia in 1979.


June is internationally renowned for her research on children’s social care, which has covered family support and child protection services for children and families in the community, as well as services for children placed away from home. She has often been called on to provide expert evidence in complex child welfare court cases and is currently a special advisor to CAFCASS and chair of Norfolk’s Family Justice Board.


The trustees described June as an individual with considerable humility, integrity and wisdom whose expertise and experience have made a major contribution to social work. Her longstanding commitment to ensuring families are supported to care for their children wherever possible, and then promoting the best quality of care when it is necessary for children to live away from home, made her a standout choice for this award


June has been a tremendous champion for children, families and social work over a long career as a social work practitioner, researcher, teacher and campaigner. She has great wisdom but also much humility. She is a shining star for social work and social workers.

Professor Ray Jones, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Social Work Awards Ltd.

June has been a tireless and fearless advocate for the children and families involved in social care during her many careers as a social worker, a researcher, a writer and as a member of the children and families faculty of the College of Social Work.

Ruth Smith, Publisher, Community Care

I couldn’t think of a more deserving winner as an outstanding contributor to the profession. As a founding member of the Making Research Count collaboration, June is relentless in her quest to help social workers deliver the best service they can by creatively drawing upon a range of resources to enhance their practice.

James Rook, Managing Director, Sanctuary Social Care

June has devoted her working life to provide the highest quality of care to this profession. She is what social care is all about and a great inspiration to all of us who are in the profession aiming to achieve the best.

Beverley Williams MBE, Founder, Social Work Awards

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