Why Crisis Planning Should Be Kept to a Minimum

Many families come into wraparound with one or more immediate crises. They may have behaviors, urgent needs, or crisis situations that occupy all of their attention, and they are unable to move forward until they are addressed. Often, these crises are safety concerns.

There is no doubt that some of those crisis must be dealt with right away. Crisis stabilization happens first, before the real planning process starts. When you have a situation like a family who is out of formula or diapers for their infant and will not be getting paid again for a week, or a teen who is an immediate suicide risk, there is no doubt that those things have to be addressed right away.

The problem is that this crisis planning starts before the wraparound process has a chance to get started. There is no SNCD, and that means limited strengths and culture for planning. There is no team yet. Crisis stabilization plans will, by definition, not be individualized, sustainable long term solutions.

Moreover, unless done very carefully and purposefully, crisis planning can work against purposeful transition. If the first thing you do is fix a problem for a family, then you will be setting that as the tone and expectation for the process.

Since crisis plans are not as good as wraparound plans, and the crisis planning process can undermine your future success, the best solution is to do as little crisis planning as possible. Talk to the family and help them understand why this is true. You are not dismissing their concerns, you are trying to help them make the best plans possible. Then really dig into which of their concerns need to be addressed immediately, and which can wait until the first team meeting.

The other thing to think about is to keep the principle of “Do For, Do With, Cheer On” in mind. Even in this time of crisis, have the family do as much of the brainstorming and problem solving as possible. And make sure that they and their current supports are the one doing the action steps of the plan. Don’t do it for them if there is any other way. These things help protect and foster purposeful transition, even in this early stage.

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