Wraparound is a family-centric process, where the team supports the family to reach their vision and meet their self-defined needs. This means that families have to know (and agree about) what it is they want – before meeting with the team. The team may have additional ideas on priority needs and goals, and families should consider these. But without a solid idea on what their vision and needs are, it will be more difficult to clearly explain and defend their choices.
The SNCD process was developed to help families work through this process. If the family did the SNCD together, and follow-up interviews with current service providers and natural supports are in agreement with the family’s SNCD, then this is relatively easy. If, however, team members see different needs for the family or the family members have different priorities, then these need to be discussed and consensus sought.
What is consensus? Consensus does not mean that everyone has to agree on everything. It means that through compromise, negotiation, and respect for other family member’s points of view, an overall agreement of how to proceed has been reached.
Consensus does not mean that everyone agrees on everything. It means that through negotiation, active listening, and compromise everyone is willing to support the primary points of consensus. There are three primary points on which the family needs to reach consensus: priority needs, the family vision, and who will be on the team. The wraparound process cannot move forward until the family reaches consensus on these items.
After reaching consensus, the family considers the input of their current supports and service providers and decides if they want to change their vision or priority needs based on this feedback. They also consider why the team member is suggesting other priorities and how this fits into their goals. It also prepares them to discuss why they do not want to work on needs suggested by team members prior to the meeting. This will make them better prepared and more comfortable in the meetings.
Next week, we will cover some of the many strategies for reaching consensus we describe in our textbooks. I’d love to include some of your ideas in the post. What do you do to help families reach consensus?