Wraparound is a facilitated and inclusive process to develop supports for children experiencing chronic or severe difficulties in school. A wraparound team is centered on the family and includes a variety of people who know and can support the child well. A wrap team must include family members and school personnel, and also ideally includes other people identified by the child and family as supportive; perhaps a close friend, a sibling, a coach, a pastor, a special relative. The idea behind a wraparound team is to maximize the student's strengths and social assets to best meet his or her needs through a practical, realistic plan. The plan, developed by people representing multiple contexts in the student's life, and driven by the insights and needs of the family, is much more likely to be successful than one which is solely "expert-based" and imposed as the "right" solution by school personnel.
Wraparound is not, therefore, a meeting in which school or human services professionals advise families and/or determine a family’s goals or priorities for them. Wraparound is not an ‘IEP’ meeting or a meeting in which there is a prescribed ‘team.’ A Wraparound team is not a single standing team or an interagency collaborative; rather, in each case, a unique team is built around each family based solely on the family’s preferences, goals and priorities.
The Wraparound process is a strategy that can be used to address child and family needs as part of a full continuum of care and education available in each MAST-NH community, beginning with school-wide behavioral supports at PBIS schools.
While Wraparound can be used at any level of the continuum, in MAST-NH we see Wraparound as the strategy of choice when school supports alone or in combination with community mental health or other services are insufficient to address child and family needs. As part of a continuum of care, Wraparound teams would have access to a range of community-based supports (and natural supports unique to the family), including access to an interagency community or regional collaborative that offers multi-system, collaborative problem-solving to expedite the development and implementation of an effective support plan.
Informal, anecdotal evidence collected over the 4 years of PBIS-NH suggests that there appears to be a discrepancy between families in need of Wraparound and the availability of skilled Wraparound facilitators. Additionally, Wraparound has been used to describe teams and processes that do not meet the researched process criteria or maintain loyalty to the values of Wraparound. Additionally, the term Wraparound has been used to describe teams that have not been designed and developed through a family-centered planning process and thus are built uniquely to support the family’s needs and priorities. The MAST-NH initiative begins to address these concerns by coordinating existing resources and human assets to (1) design a comprehensive standardized training and facilitator support system that can be used across the state to teach and support what will be known as Wraparound-NH and (2) increase capacity for implementing Wraparound with fidelity by training at least 3 additional facilitators in each region by March of 2008.