DEAR ABBY: I am 16 years old and a ward of the court. I have a horrible social worker who never looks at any of the positive things I do. I have good grades and barely ever do anything wrong. Recently I have been doing things that they call "acting out." I am not acting out!
At our last court appearance, her report stated that I'm a juvenile delinquent who is in need of serious help. I am consistently told by the people at the group home where I live that I am none of those things.
How do I tell my social worker that she needs to see the positive things I am doing and not just look at the negative? Please help me. I am going nuts. I need to know if it is me or her. -- CONFUSED IN REDWOOD CITY, CALIF.
DEAR CONFUSED: It's possible that the problem isn't all yours or all hers, but a combination of both. The caseload social workers must manage these days is overwhelming, which means that, much as they might wish otherwise, they are often unable to give each client a lot of personal attention.
"Acting out" is misbehaving and expressing angry feelings in inappropriate ways. When a child is separated from home, school, family and friends, that's a good reason to be angry. However, if you and the people at your group home feel that the social worker is mistaken, then the administrator should write a letter to the court explaining that fact. I'm sure the judge would take it into consideration. (I know I would.)
P.S. If the social worker thinks you need "serious help" -- which I assume to mean psychological counseling -- go for it. Almost everyone can benefit from having a trained person listen to his or her concerns, pains and problems. It is considered to be a huge benefit, not a punishment.