What is Wraparound?
Wraparound is an intensive, individualized care management program for children and youth with serious or complex emotional, behavioral or mental health needs, and who are at risk of having to be separated from their families. Wraparound seeks to "wrap" services around the entire family with a support system of experts, caregivers, and child and family advocates.
What is the goal of Wraparound?
The primary goal of Wraparound is to keep children living in their communities, preferably with their families. By coordinating services and supporting families with children who have emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs, Wraparound hopes to meet this goal.
What values guide the Wraparound process?
Wraparound begins with a core belief that all families have strengths and that what can help one family may not necessarily help another. By helping a family discover its individual strengths, the Wraparound team steers a family toward health and recovery by using those strengths to develop new skills. It also helps the family to learn the value of each member instead of just focusing on the negatives in their lives.
How does a child or youth receive Wraparound?
Typically, a child or youth enters Wraparound by being referred through a county's Social Services, Child & Family Services, Probation or Mental/Behavioral Health department. A family must choose to participate and must be totally dedicated to a reunification process; it is completely voluntary. Once a family elects to participate in the program, South Coast works with the family to assemble an individualized Wraparound team to focus on the family's unique needs. The team is comprised of specialists assigned to several crucial tasks: facilitating the plan of care and partnering with the parent(s) as a coach or mentor. Depending on the county, other critical roles are: someone dedicated to the overall healthy development of the family, and a partner who looks out for the interests of the youth. And many times, the team also includes informal supports and family advocates, such as close friends.
How does Wraparound work?
At the very first meeting with the family, the Wraparound team begins work on establishing a team approach and encourages the family to invite those in their lives who may also be helpful, including close family friends, teachers, pastors, therapists, extended family members and even athletic coaches. Working closely with the family, the team devises a plan of care and a safety plan with agreed-upon goals and responsibilities for family members.
How effective is Wraparound?
Empirical evidence for Wraparound's effectiveness with at-risk children and youth is largely positive, although nationwide studies are ongoing. The U.S. Surgeon General's office has cited Wraparound as a promising practice in reducing youth violence and in the treatment of juvenile mental health issues. The average length of time a family is in Wraparound is 18 months. If the process is successful, the family makes demonstrable strides in tapping into community supports and in cultivating a living environment that enables all members, including the child and youth, to remain together at home. When a family "graduates" from Wraparound, the team and family gather for a celebration that is both joyful and tear-filled, as they tend to be emotional milestone moments in these families' journeys.