A social worker from West Sussex has received national recognition for his outstanding work with children and their families.
Jason Barnes, a child protection social worker in the south of the county, has been selected as a finalist in the Social Worker of the Year Awards 2016.
The award, which is supported by Barnardo’s, is for a qualified social worker who has made a difference through his or her outstanding work with children and families.
Wendy Hill, principal social worker at West Sussex County Council, who nominated Jason, said: “This is a huge honour as I know that they had a very high number of applications this year and this is the most competitive category.
“Jason is a social worker who is becoming nationally recognised as an ambassador for the social work profession as he has written a series of inspiring articles for The Guardian and Community Care magazine.”
Jason was also instrumental in initiating and co-ordinating the regional Social Work Development Group, which is a new cross-county project run by social workers for social workers to assist with their professional development.
This group has also been a new opportunity for qualified practitioners from across Sussex to learn, share knowledge and challenge methods and values.
Jason said: “To be nominated by the county council was a huge compliment because we have so many brilliant social workers who work for our organisation. Then to find out that I’ve been shortlisted is completely overwhelming.
“Like many practitioners, I entered the profession to do something of real value and because I love working with people. Since starting with West Sussex I’ve received excellent training, supervision and support.
“I’m also very grateful to have social work colleagues who are so encouraging and always bring out the best in me.”
The Social Worker of the Year Awards is a prestigious event run by the charity Social Work Awards and is described as the leading celebration of its kind in the social care sector.
The awards were judged by leading influencers including the chief social workers Isabelle Trowler and Lyn Romeo and Maris Stratulis (England Manager, British Association of Social Workers).
Javed Khan, chief executive of award sponsor Barnardo’s, said: “This award recognises the very best work in children’s social care and someone who consistently goes above and beyond to make a positive difference to the lives of the children and families they support.
“To reach the final of the Social Worker of the Year Awards is an outstanding achievement and something to be very proud of.”
Jason will find out if he has won at an exclusive awards ceremony in London in November.
For more information about the Social Worker of the Year Awards visit www.socialworkawards.com
Or to find out more about becoming a social worker in West Sussex, visit www.withyoueverystep.co.uk