What is Wraparound?
Wraparound is a process that supports growth and family visions using family defined strengths, needs, and culture. Wraparound supports the family to develop and implement an integrated plan to achieve their own vision. This means supporting them to have the skills, confidence, and natural supports to achieve and improve this vision after wraparound staff are no longer involved.
The wraparound process is defined by 10 principles that define how we do wraparound, 4 phases and related activities which describe the general process, and action steps that define the expectations for each staff person. All of this must be done in accordance with the VVDB theory of change, which describes why wraparound works and what needs to be done to support successful transition.
A Wraparound Example
Jason was 10 years old when he and his family were referred to a wraparound program. Jason had been living in various residential placements for the past five years after being removed from his mother’s home for failure to protect. He struggles in the placements and in school because of his violent emotional outbursts and lack of patience. Jason has a dual diagnosis of moderate mental retardation and bipolar disorder. His mother and sister both have mental health challenges and his father has been unavailable for contact for five years. His father was substantiated for sexual abuse related to Jason’s sister and there were similar concerns about Jason which were not substantiated. The father served two years in prison and is now on probation. Jason’s family had already run through their traditional options, and they weren’t seeing any improvements.
Jason, his family, and the rest of their wraparound team met to discuss what the family wanted for their future. The family agreed that they would be successful if they accomplished the following:
Jason is living with a family who loves and accepts him, functioning without blowouts, becoming healthier, and stable in a home environment. Once Jason is stable, he would transition home with community supports and be successful in school.
The team built a list of the family’s strengths, culture, and needs, and came up with a team mission:
Jason will be at home, safe, involved in community activities and successful at school.
With that mission and the family vision in mind, they formulated a list of goals. Of those goals, the family prioritized three:
- Find a less restrictive place for Jason to live close to mom in a caring and safe home
- Define Dad’s role with Jason
- Jason to transition to a supportive community school
The wraparound process took time, and not everything went smoothly. But by listening to the family, by getting all the support people together to give input, and by adjusting the plan as it went along, Jason’s family was able to meet their goals. Jason improved his behavior at the group home, graduated into foster care, and was eventually able to move back home with his mom. He was reintegrated into his community and his local school, and has been very successful there. Their home is not perfect, but it is a much happier, more stable place. During transition, Jason’s team made a list of the lessons they’d learned from the process:
- The support of your team can make life a success.
- Consistent rules and schedules are easy and work well.
- Everyone has to be responsible for themselves and the rest of the team.
- Having stuff to do is better than just hanging out.
- Prevention is the best way to deal with problems.
- Don’t change the schedule without talking to Jason first.
For Jason and his family, the wraparound process made all the difference.