A social worker at a young offender institution has triumphed in the third annual Social Worker of the Year awards.
Jacqui Knight, who works at Brinsford YOI, Staffordshire, won one of the UK’s few national awards for social workers.
Knight said she had no expectations of winning the award, presuming it would go to a field social worker.
Award judge Susan Cranie, consultant for social work employment agency Careplan, said Knight stood out for her “blend of professionalism and empathy”, saying she had impressed “offenders and the authorities alike”.
Knight is one of just 25 social workers in YOIs in England and Wales. She said her role included ensuring councils kept in touch with looked-after children entering custody and supporting resettlement. Councils are due to take over the posts from 2009 but Knight said there was uncertainty because of limited funds.
The award is organised by Beverley Williams, who also works full-time for Peterborough Council as a social worker in children’s services and currently receives no sponsorship for the event. She said: “What I’m trying to do is promote the image of social work.”
• More from www.socialworkersawards.org