Mel Godfrey received the outstanding contribution by a social worker award at The Fostering Network’s Fostering Excellence Awards this week.
Mel, who has been a supervising social worker for teenagers for 36 years, works with remand foster carers who support young people in care who are in the youth justice system.
She was chosen as this year’s winner after the judges recognised that she goes the extra mile for the carers she works with.
When one carer was assaulted by their young person Mel stayed with her until she was calm and confident enough to be on her own again and she followed up with phone calls to the carer in the subsequent days to offer support.
Helma van Haren, a remand carer with Northamptonshire County Council who nominated Mel for the award, said: “Mel is also not afraid to intervene on a child’s behalf and contact their social worker if she feels more could be done to provide the best possible care.
“She listens to her carers and acts to improve their situation in any way she can.
“I know that if Mel hadn’t been there I would not still be doing my job.
“Her 24/7 availability, to both her carers and their charges, is what makes her special and invaluable.”
Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, said: “Mel is a social worker who values close knit communities of foster carers, social workers, and others in the team around the child so that they can always secure the best outcomes for children.
“She is an inspiration to others, and a rock for the carers that she supports.”
County council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Matthew Golby said: “This award is incredibly well-deserved and a wonderful way to recognise Mel’s hard work and dedication.
“The foster carers she supports tell us that Mel consistently goes above and beyond to make a difference to their lives and, on behalf of our foster carers and their families, I’d like say a massive thank you and well done!”
Northamptonshire County Council is looking to recruit more foster carers for different types of fostering, including short term, permanent, emergency foster care, remand foster care, providing homes for siblings or even short breaks for parents of children with disabilities.
A full training and support package for foster carers is available, and carers receive a competitive weekly payment which is higher than the government recommended rates.
For more information, visit www.fosterme.co.uk or call 0300 126 1009.