Wraparound is a team-based planning process intended to provide individualized, coordinated, family-driven care to meet the complex needs of children, youth, and families who are involved with the various child and family-serving systems who are at risk of placement in institutional settings and who may experience emotional, behavioral, safety, or mental health difficulties. The wraparound process brings families, providers, and key members of the family’s social support network together to collaborate to build a customized plan of care that responds to the unique needs of the child and family.

man presenting to a group in an office setting standing in front of a flip chart

By bringing people together from different parts of the family’s life, the family team drafts a plan of care driven by the youth and family that include the team mission and family vision. It concentrates on strengths and needs, intending to keep the family together, safe, and in the community or least restrictive setting possible. Team members then implement the plan and continue to meet regularly to record progress and tailor the plan to meet the family’s changing needs.

Wraparound is not something that you “get.” It’s something you “do”; it’s a process, not a program or a service. These fundamental principles merge with a “whatever it takes” philosophy that embodies an unconditional commitment to team development, family empowerment, and outcome-based interventions.

Family and youth perspectives are intentionally elicited and prioritized during all phases of the wraparound process. Planning is grounded in family members’ perspectives, and the team strives to provide options and choices such that the plan reflects family values and preferences.

The wraparound team consists of the individuals agreed upon by the family and committed to the family through informal, formal, and community support and service relationships.

The team actively seeks out and encourages the full participation of team members drawn from family members’ networks of interpersonal and community relationships. The wraparound plan reflects activities and interventions that draw on sources of natural support.

Team members work cooperatively and share responsibility for developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating a single wraparound plan. The plan reflects a blending of team members’ perspectives, mandates, and resources. The plan guides and coordinates each team member’s work towards meeting the team’s goal.

The wraparound team implements service and support strategies that take place in the most inclusive, most responsive, most accessible, and least restrictive settings possible; and that safely promote child and family integration into home and community life.
The wraparound process demonstrates respect for and builds on the values, preferences, beliefs, culture, and identity of the child/youth and family and their community.

To achieve the goals in the wraparound plan, the team develops and implements a customized set of strategies, supports, and services.

The wraparound process and the wraparound plan identify, build on, and enhance the capabilities, knowledge, skills, and assets of the child and family, their community, and other team members.
A wraparound team does not give up on, blame, or reject children, youth, and families. When faced with challenges or setbacks, the team continues working toward meeting the youth and family’s needs and achieving the goals in the wraparound plan until the team agrees that a formal wraparound process is no longer necessary.
The team ties the goals and strategies of the wraparound plan to observable or measurable indicators of success, monitors progress in terms of these indicators, and revises the plan accordingly.

Wraparound follows a series of four phases to strengthen and support families and help them realize and reach their hopes and dreams. With the assistance of facilitators, often referred to as Care Coordinators, along with parent professionals, often referred to as Family Partners, the team works together toward a unified mission and creates a plan of care.

During this phase, the groundwork for trust and shared vision among the family and wraparound team members is established, so people are prepared to come to meetings and collaborate. During this phase, the tone is set for teamwork and team interactions consistent with the wraparound principles, particularly through the initial conversations about strengths, needs, and culture. In addition, this phase provides an opportunity to shift the family’s orientation to one in which they understand they are an integral part of the process and their preferences are prioritized.
During this phase, team trust and mutual respect are built while the team creates an initial plan of care using a high-quality planning process that reflects the wraparound principles. In particular, during this phase, the family should feel that they are heard, that the needs chosen are ones they want to work on, and that the options chosen to have a reasonable chance of helping them meet these needs. This phase is intended to promote team cohesion and shared responsibility for achieving the team’s mission or overarching goal.
During this phase, the initial wraparound plan is implemented, progress and successes are continually reviewed, and changes are made to the plan and then implemented, all while maintaining or building team cohesiveness and mutual respect. The activities of this phase are repeated until the team’s mission is achieved and a formal wraparound is no longer needed.

During this phase, plans are made for a purposeful transition out of formal wraparound to a mix of formal and natural supports in the community (and, if appropriate, to services and supports in the adult or mandated system). The focus on transition is continual during the wraparound process, and the preparation for transition is apparent even during the initial engagement activities.

In the spirit of the popular belief, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Wraparound is an intervention strategy in which families are supported and encouraged toward their goals through the joint efforts of the professionally or socially involved people in their lives. The wraparound model is based on individualized, needs-driven planning and services. It is not a program or a type of service. It is a value base and an unconditional commitment to create services on a “one child, one family at a time” basis to support normalized and inclusive options for youth and families with complex needs.