Issue: Powerlessness

You are working with a family of eight from Syria who have just arrived in the UK seeking asylum. The housing department has provided them with accommodation in a two bedroom flat which is damp and in need of significant repairs. The family are struggling in such crowded conditions and this has led to a number of arguments between the parents which have been witnessed by the children. Furthermore the school have complained that the children’s clothes are dirty and smell of damp. You feel very strongly that the family’s needs cannot be met in their current accommodation and that this is having a negative impact on the children’s emotional wellbeing. You try to arrange a meeting with housing but they refuse to meet with you.


Do you:

  1. Feel angry that you were not heard and that the department have been unresponsive to you. You are motivated to force a meeting with the housing department.
  2. Feel disappointed that you were unable to arrange a meeting and deflated by the circumstances facing the family.
  3. Feel frustrated but that the situation has driven your determination to pursue the plan that the family need alternative housing.
  4. Feel a sense of shame or embarrassment in front of the family for being seen unable to affect any positive change on their behalf.

This situation may lead you to a range of feelings. However there are times in which you have to accept the resource limitation of what you can do. At the same time a good social worker will always explore other options and advocate for what is in the best interest of the child.