Entries for the 2017 Social Worker of the Year Awards are open! Visit our website for more information & to download entry forms #SWA17

Zahraa Adam, Essex County Council

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, Zahraa 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 Muslim 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.”


What was said about the Zahraa:


“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      



  • Jabbar Sardar, Cafcass
  • Jenni Randall, Lifetime Achievement Award winner 2013
  • Jennifer Skirrow, Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker of the Year 2013
  • Parmjit Chahal, Harrow Council
  • Sue Kent, BASW


  • Julian Wild, Southwark Council
  • Jenny Cragg, Stoke-on-Trent City Council – SILVER WINNER
  • Theresa Olivero, Southampton City Council
  • Elise Houston, Newcastle City Council
  • Amy Sibun, Norfolk County Council
  • Zahraa Adam, Essex County Council – GOLD WINNER