New Years Honours List: Congratulations to Hugh Thornbery and Julie Selwyn

Two well-known figures in adoption have each been awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2016:

  • Mr. Hugh Thornbery - Chief Executive for Adoption UK
  • Professor Julie Selwyn - Director of the Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care studies at Bristol University

Hugh Thornbery joined Adoption UK as Chief Executive at the end of October 2012 and has worked in children’s services in the statutory and voluntary sectors for more than 35 years. Hugh is a qualified social worker and youth and community worker and has an MBA in Public Services Administration. He has spoken widely on adoption in the media and at conferences and has worked closely with government to influence and improve support and recognition for the needs of adopters and their children. Hugh is currently a member of the Adoption Leadership Board, the National Recruitment Forum for Adoption


Professor Julie Selwyn is a renowned social work academic, whose research on adoption has helped improve practice. Selwyn, a member of the Adoption Leadership Board, joined Bristol University in 1993 after 20 years working as a children and families social worker. The university said her research on adoption and fostering had strengthened social work’s knowledge base and helped to change practice. Professor Selwyn said: “This is a tremendous honour and while the focus is on my work, research is always a team effort and my thanks must go to the researchers who have worked alongside me helping to produce high quality research outputs.”

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