Wraparound uses a team approach to meeting you and your family’s needs. It gathers your family, community based services and natural support people already in your life together to come up with a plan to try to meet your child’s needs and help your family realize the life you have been dreaming of!
What Is Wraparound?
Wraparound is a way or process of working with children and youth with serious mental health challenges and their families. During the Wraparound process community based services and supports “wrap around” a child or youth and their family in their home, school, and community in an effort to help meet their needs.
The Wraparound process is individualized to your child and family. Supports and services are based on your family’s needs, goals, desires and build upon your family’s values, culture and beliefs. Strategies used to meet those goals are based on your strengths of your family and the natural supports that are available to you in your community.
The philosophy of Wraparound is based on an unconditional commitment to your family’s success. If the plan, or supports or services are not improving the life of your child or family, or if the plan fails to produce the outcomes you were hoping for, the plan is changed. You and your team keep working until you find what works.
Wraparound uses a team approach to develop a plan of supports and services to help your family. The planning process will be comprehensive which means it will look at all areas of your family’s life. Each area is called a life domain. Life domains include all of the regular daily activities critical to the healthy development of all children and families such as family, living situation, social/friends, psychological/emotional, educational/vocational, legal, social/recreational, cultural/spiritual, medical/dental, and crisis and safety planning.
Your family and the people you choose to be a part of your team will guide the work of your group. The team looks to the strengths of each member to help create and sustain an effective plan. The plans and supports needed will be community based, meaning you will get what you need to be successful in your home, school and community.
Wraparound may look a little different across communities, but it must contain the principles outlined above or it is not wraparound.
Who Qualifies for Wraparound?
Like mental health services, eligibility for Wraparound may vary from county to county, however if your child or family have complex needs you may qualify.
How Do I Access Wraparound?
If you have not been referred to Wraparound and feel your family would benefit from it, contact your therapist or other mental health provider and ask if your family may be eligible for Wraparound.
How does the Wraparound Process Work?
The Wraparound process has four basic parts or phases, including:
1. Team Planning & Engagement
During this stage your team is formed and the planning process begins. A Wraparound Facilitator or Coordinator will be assigned to your family and their job will be to help coordinate the process and do the initial work with you and your family to identify the things you really need to make your life better. Later in the process their role will be to help to ensure your voice is heard and that you are confortable with the plan and the decisions being made for your child and family.
At the first meeting with the Coordinator you will spend a lot of time getting to know one another. They will explain the Wraparound process and listen to your family’s story including your concerns, needs, hopes, dreams, and strengths. They will ask you to describe what you envision for your family’s future. The Coordinator will also ask a lot of questions about each member of your family as they try to determine your family’s strengths, needs and most importantly what positive outcomes you would like to see as a result of being involved in Wraparound. They may also ask you about strategies that have or have not worked in the past.
The facilitator will then help you to create your Wraparound Team. Your team will include you, your child and family, a facilitator or coordinator, and others who know your family best. Ideally at least half of your team should be made up of natural support people who are already connected to your family such as someone from your church and neighborhood. Service providers can also be a part of your team. The goal is that eventually the formal support people/service providers can fade out and you will still have a team of natural support people in place.
Once you have identified people who care about your family as well as people we have found helpful for each family member to add to the team. You will then work with the coordinator to decide who will come to the meetings to develop a plan and when and where meetings will be held.
What can I do to prepare for the first meeting with my Coordinator?
Although you do not need to do anything before getting started if you like to feel prepared you could:
- Make a list of people who care about you and are helpful to your family.
- Create a list of “strengths” or things that each family member of your family does well and things they are interested in and care about.
- Think about your goals and what you want for your family in the future.
2. Initial Plan Development
During this part of the process your team will work together as a group to create your Wraparound Plan. The plan you design should be based on your family’s needs, strengths, and be focused on your goals for your child and family.
Your first Wraparound meeting will start with introductions. Then the Wraparound Coordinator will share the lists of the strengths you had developed. The rest of the team can add to it if they would like. Your team may also create a Mission Statement to guide the work you will do together.
Next the team will work with you to help identify the goals or outcomes you would like to reach through the Wraparound process. The outcomes are like a map that tells the team where you want to go and guide the supports and services you will receive. One you have decided on outcomes the team needs to figure out what things you need in order to reach those goals. A need might be something like a way to get to the doctor, or a strategy or support to ride the bus without getting kicked off, etc. From the list of needs the team will select a few to focus on right away that will best help your family move towards your outcomes. Be sure to let your team know what things are most important to your family to focus on first.
After you have identified the needs to work on first the team will brainstorm ideas for strategies to best address those needs. Be sure to include every idea and have everyone keep an open mind. Get creative! Once you have created a list of possible strategies to deal with those needs compare that list to the list of strength of your family. If the team selects strategies that match up with the strengths of your family you will most likely be successful. Once strategies have been chosen it is time for Action! Your team will then create an action plan, which lists what members of the team will do to work on each area of need.
Another important piece of planning your team will do will be to create a safety/ crisis plan if needed. A safety or crisis plan tis a plan that details the strategies you would use and the specific steps you and your family would take if a crisis arises.
3. Implementation or Putting the Plan into Action
Now that your plan is created each member of the team will get busy working on the strategies they have committed to. During this phase your team will meet every couple of weeks. Your meetings will focus on how things are going. You will usually start with the team listing any accomplishments that have been made and checking the progress on everyone’s work toward their tasks. It is really important during this phase to let your team know what strategies are or are not working for your family. You are the one’s who have to live with the plan, so if it is not working let them know and the team can work to come up with new strategies.
Eventually there will come a time when the strategies being used are successful and you are reaching the outcomes you have identified. The missions of your team and the goals for your family have been realized. When this happens you are ready for transition which means your family is ready to leave the formal Wraparound Process. Before you leave your team should take the time to celebrate it accomplishments and make plans for any follow up care your family might need after leaving Wraparound. Be sure you feel comfortable with leaving and know how to access services and supports in your community and how to access further services from your team should you need them.
For additional information about Wraparound:
Contact your local Community Mental Health (CMH), ACMH, or visit the National Wraparound Initiative online at www.rte.pdx.edu/nwi.