Providing high quality wraparound can be hard, but it is much easier when every agency (or group of small programs) has their own Wraparound Process Mentor(s) (WPM). Here are our top seven reasons why:
1. Wraparound Programs are always changing – Staff leave or programs expand, and there is an ongoing need to train and coach new staff. These include wraparound facilitators, family and youth support partners, and supervisors. WPMs can provide this training. In addition, management and agency leadership change and the WPM can provide stability and advocacy to maintain the progress of the wraparound program.
2. Your Agency and Community needs are always changing – Your agency and community isn’t static. Program expansion of changes in funding may mean serving different populations of youth and families. Funding changes may change the way wraparound fits into your system of care. The way you do community outreach, the kinds of people you need to hire, even the services you provide will change over time. A WPM is not just an expert – he or she is your expert: an expert in wraparound AND your agency, community, and history.
3. National Experts and Consultants are expensive – When you are having trouble with high turnover, low training transfer, or stagnant family outcomes, you might need extra help. When you need to meet new challenges, it can be more than the wraparound staff and supervisors can handle. A problem shooter who has been there before can save time and money in the long run. But national consultants don’t come cheap, nor do they understand the unique needs of your community and program. WPMs are linked with other WPMs across the country and can easily access and share collegial ideas. Having a WPM on staff gives you expert attention from someone who understands local context and lets you save your consultant money for when you really need it.
4. You can do all your own training and certifications in house – Training can get really expensive really quickly if you have to hire outside trainers. Having certified coaches lets you train and certify all your own facilitators and support partners in house. Having a WPM lets you train and certify all your own coaches and supervisors in house. A WPM can also do the advanced training to address ongoing challenges and new initiatives.
5. Troubleshoot challenges as they arise; not as you find funding to fix them – You want to try and reach a different segment of the community. Your family outcomes are dropping, and you aren’t sure why. You are losing staff quicker than normal. Challenges and opportunities tend to be met best when they can be met right away. A WPM can start researching your specific issue as soon as you (or they) identify it. No special funding required. Instead of addressing your need with current information or taking your challenge or a vague idea to your funding sources to request more money, you can have a well-researched problem with a few carefully selected possible solutions.
6. Learning Communities don’t build themselves – We all know that learning communities, like professional development plans, can have far reaching benefits for everyone involved. A wraparound learning organization is an agency or program that is committed to continual learning and innovation that uses organizational learning mechanisms to create and support a climate of team learning that results in better fidelity and outcomes, better satisfied staff with lower burnout and turnover, and the ability to quickly respond to new challenges. WPMs provide in-house expertise and motivation to build and sustain these learning communities.
7. Good coaches create good facilitators. Good WPM’s create good coaches. – Your agency can not be any better than the wraparound its wraparound professionals provide. You need good facilitators and support partners providing consistent, high fidelity wraparound to realize the many benefits of wraparound. The best, easiest, and most reliable way to cultivate a strong wrap-force is to have good coaches and supervisors. But good coaches and supervisors don’t create themselves. You might be lucky enough to have a few just walk in already wise in the ways of wraparound coaching and supervising. A WMP takes the luck out of the equation. They can help all of your coaches and supervisors to be stronger.
8. Wraparound is always changing – Our knowledge base about wraparound gets bigger every year. We learn how to do things better, how to help families achieve more, and how to do it all more efficiently. To offer the best wraparound possible, you have to be current. WPM’s are wraparound experts who are constantly seeking to learn more, who are linked with experts and other WPMs across the county. Having a WPM on staff means having at least one person whose job it is to stay on top of it all.