The 2018 Social Worker of the Year awards took place in London on Friday 30th November. Entries for this year's awards open in April 2019. #SWA18

Jessica Raper, East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Newly Qualified Children's Social Worker of the Year



Before qualifying as a social worker, Jessica Raper completed a fine art degree and the way she applies her creativity to social work practice really shone through her nomination.


In the case of a child whose teeth had rotted due to dental phobia, Jessica provided worry people and magic beans to help the child feel safe at the dentist. In another case, she used finger puppets to enable a young person to communicate with the police. She also organised a fairy tea party for a parent and child who had not seen each other for six months, and her work on this case has led to ongoing positive contact between the two.


Alongside her inspiring direct work with children and families, Jessica has also navigated her way through a number of complex cases. A notable example was her work supporting two young people, who were being placed with relatives, and their mother, through difficult care proceedings, which saw her court report commended for its child focus and clarity.


Jessica’s colleagues credited her as a practitioner with contagious positivity, adding that she was a “shining example” of how children’s social work should be delivered.


What was said about Jessica:


Annie, Surviving Safeguarding: “I was so impressed by the creative work Jessica has done with CYP to help them with their fears and distress. I was equally impressed with the way in which she has made parents feel safe to work with her. Jessica is clearly a huge asset and deserves recognition.”


Elizabeth Njenga, Newly Qualified Social Worker, BASW:“Very strong nomination with clear evidence of social work values, excellent communication skills with varied ways of engaging with children and young people.”


Service user feedback: “Jess has been the children’s social worker for approximately 18 months. During that time, she has built a relationship with the children that is above and beyond that of any of their previous social workers. The children now look forward to her visits rather than the view that the social workers visits are something to be tolerated”


Eoin Rush, Head of Children and Young People Support and Safeguarding Services, East Riding of Yorkshire Council: “Jessica consistently goes the extra mile and feedback about her performance and approach is invariably positive. Her positivity and her determination is contagious. It inspires and enlivens all those around her. We think that Jessica is a star and shining example of how excellent children's social work should be delivered.”



  • Annie, Surviving Safeguarding
  • Elizabeth Njenga, BASW
  • Jess Dugdale-Pointon, Age 15, Cafcass Family Justice Young People’s Board
  • Louise Walker, Raising the Profile of Social Work Award Winner 2017



  • Alice Bent, Oxfordshire County Council
  • Daniel Newman, Essex County Council
  • Heidi Turtle, Kent County Council
  • Jessie Turner, Hull City Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Jessica Raper, East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Simone Oliver, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Tiffany Ridd, Norfolk County Council