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Stephanie Mills, Rochdale Borough Council

Newly Qualified Children's Social Worker of the Year



Stephanie was a standout winner for the judges and it’s not difficult to see why. Since joining Rochdale Borough Council in September 2014 she has been assigned a series of complex cases that would have proved testing for any practitioner, let alone a newly qualified worker. But she has approached them all with the same enthusiasm, confidence and integrity.


One notable example is when a service user on Stephanie’s caseload disclosed that she had been abused by her foster carer. This case was emotionally challenging for all involved but Stephanie persevered and has been successful in helping the young person to open up about her experiences, rebuild her self-esteem and begin to trust those around her again. The positive impact Stephanie had on this service user was evidenced in a moving testimonial, which described her as “one of the best social workers you could ever have”.


Stephanie’s nomination also described a reflective practitioner who takes full advantage of supervision to further her professional development.


She has a real talent for establishing rapport and relationships with young people, even in the most difficult circumstances, and the judges praised her for always asking the question: “Would this be good enough for my child?” 


What was said about Stephanie:

“Stephanie is very child-focused and has worked on a raft of complex cases. It’s brilliant to a newly qualified social worker doing so well in Rochdale.” - Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive, Cafcass


“Stephanie is very child-focused and I really liked the fact she is asking the question ‘Would this be good enough for my child?’ Children are obviously taking to her.” - Sherry Malik, Director of Children’s Services Development and Delivery, NSPCC


“Stephanie’s level of development and learning is beyond that which a significant number of social workers achieve in a relatively short period of time. She is an asset to Rochdale and to the children she supports.” - Christine Foster, head of service, Rochdale Borough Council


“Stephanie is a kind and warm-hearted woman who would always be there no matter what. In my opinion she is one of the best social workers you could ever have.” - Service user



  • Anthony Douglas CBE, Cafcass
  • Dez Holmes, Research in Practice & Research in Practice for Adults
  • Dave Thomas, Practice Teacher of the Year Award Winner 2014
  • Sherry Malik, NSPCC
  • Emma Blakemore, Skylakes Social Work


  • Stephanie Mills, Rochdale Borough Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • Nikki Gay, London Borough of Hounslow
  • Katie Stevens, London Borough of Barnet - JOINT SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Abbie Osborne, Southend Borough Council
  • Claire Mullarkey, London Borough of Ealing - JOINT SILVER AWARD WINNER