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by Tricia Luker

The Wraparound Process is a team approach to children’s mental health services. The concept of wraparound has emerged as a response to growing concerns about the ineffectiveness of categorical mental health and special education services for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Wraparound refers to the wrapping of a network of services around a youth and family in the natural home, school and community environments. Parent-driven individualized service plans, creative use of resources and natural environments are the common attributes which characterize nationally recognized service systems based on wraparound.

Rather than being limited by the traditional placements usually offered (i.e., residential, special school, self-contained classroom), the wraparound approach allows providers to create individualized plans drawing from people and resources built across the various segments of systems. Supports are built into natural environments; nontraditional providers such as parent partners, student buddies, neighbors, churches and volunteers are often part of a wraparound plan for a child and family.


The Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice would like to announce a new mini-web on the Wraparound process.  For more information, contact the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice toll free at 888-457-1551. 

Below is an excerpt from their site:

 What is the wraparound process?

The wraparound process is a way to improve the lives of consumers who have complex needs. It is not a program or a type of service. The process is used to help communities develop individualized plans of care. The actual individualized plan is developed by a Wraparound Team, the four to ten people who know the consumer best, including the consumer and their family. The team must be no more than half professionals.

The plan is needs-driven rather than service-driven, although a plan may incorporate existing categorical services if appropriate to the needs of the consumer. The initial plan should be a combination of existing or modified services, newly created services, informal supports, and community resources, and should include a plan for a step-down of formal services.

This plan is family centered rather than child centered. The parent(s) and child are integral parts of the team and must have ownership of the plan. No planning sessions occur without the presence of the child and family.

The plan is based on the unique strengths, values, norms, and preferences of the child, family, and community. No interventions are allowed in the plan that do not have matching child, family, and community strengths.

The plan is focused on typical needs in life domain areas that all persons (of like age, sex, culture) have. These life domains are: family, living situation, financial, educational/vocational, social/recreational, behavioral/emotional, psychological, health, legal, cultural, safety, and others.

All services and supports must be culturally competent and tailored to the unique values and cultural needs of the child, family, and the culture that the family identifies with.

The child and family team and agency staff who providing services and supports must make a commitment to unconditional care. When things do not go well, the child and family are not "kicked out", but rather, the individualized services and supports are changed.

Services and supports are community-based. When residential treatment or hospitalization is accessed, these service modalities are to be used as resources and not as placements that operate outside of the plan produced by the child and family team.

Planning, services, and supports cut across traditional agency boundaries through multi-agency involvement and funding. Governments at the provincial, state, district, regional, and local levels work together to improve services. Outcome measures are identified and individual wraparound plans are frequently evaluated.

 If it doesn't have these elements, it isn't wraparound!

The wraparound process includes a set of framing elements which serve as the philosophical base for the process. The elements were presented at the first conference on the wraparound process, held in Pittsburgh in 1991.
bullet Wraparound efforts must be based in the community.
bullet Services and supports must be individualized to meet the needs of the children and families.
bullet The process must be culturally competent and build on the unique values, preferences, strengths of children and families.
bullet Parents must be included in every level of development of the process.
bullet Agencies must have access to flexible, non-categorized funding.
bullet The process must be implemented on an inter-agency basis and be owned by the larger community.
bullet Wraparound plans must include a balance of formal services and informal community and family resource.
bullet Services must be unconditional. If the needs of the child and family change, the child and family are not to be rejected from services. Instead, the services must be changed.
bullet Outcomes must be measured. If they are not, the wraparound process is merely an interesting fad. Fortunately, the wraparound process is increasingly the object of scientific investigation. The results of initial studies are promising.

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