A Family and Youth Support Partner, also called a Family Support Partner, is a person who has been a caregiver to someone with complex behavioral health and other needs in their own lives. Often, but not always, the Family Support Partner is a graduate of wraparound. These positions are a distinctly different job than the Wraparound Facilitator, but they work closely with the Wraparound Facilitator to support positive outcomes for the family.
Family Support Partners add value to wraparound for several reasons. First, as someone who has experienced similar challenges, they can often engage families at levels people without this experience cannot. Second, they can provide direct support to meet the goals of the theory of change. For example, the Wraparound Facilitator, Family Support Partner and family may not initially identify natural supports for the team through the SNCD process. The Family Support Partner may “work deep” to help the family identify and engage some natural supports in the process as moves forward in the process. Another way in which the Family Support Partner can be useful is helping the family navigate uncomfortable environments. For example, the family might be intimidated by school meetings. The Family Support Partner might help them understand their rights, role play meetings, and/or go with them to meetings and plan how they will handle future meetings.
Family and Youth Support Partner certification happens in two phases: Tier One and Tier Two Certification. Both tiers are carried out by a Certified Coach. Tier One Certification is designed to be accomplished within the first 2 to 4 weeks of a wraparound staff person’s job. Until Tier One Certification is completed, the staff person is considered a novice in his or her position. Upon completion, the staff person gets the job title of Family and Youth Support Partner. Each Tier One learner is given a textbook that includes the 45 exercises from the basic training, shadowing, and behavioral rehearsal. The forty-five training exercises are done as part of the initial training of wraparound. These are the class or individual exercises done to cover the many facets of wraparound. In addition, there are seven supplemental “coaching” activities that are done to practice and learn more about the material in the training in the individual site and seven shadowing activities (which are each done twice) in which the student watches experienced staff do some of the critical activities of wraparound. Tier Two Certification is designed to be accomplished within the next 120 days of a Wraparound staff person’s job and results in the staff getting the job title of Advanced Family and Youth Support Partner. Each Tier Two learner is given a Tier Two certification textbook that involves demonstrating that he or she can successfully do the key activities of wraparound with youth and families.