What is WrapAround?

At it’s simplest, the Wraparound process is a person/family driven, team based planning process that develops an individualized plan that uses the strengths of the person/family and their team members to develop strategies that the whole team takes on that effectively address the person’s/family’s needs on a day to day basis.

A WrapAround initiative does this by training people to use the WrapAround planning process and become Facilitators. These Facilitators work with a referred person/family to bring together a Team (anywhere from 3-10 people) that builds a plan to address the person's or family's daily needs. This plan builds upon the foundation of the person's or family's strengths and is adapted to their family culture. Both formal and natural or informal support people have a place on the Team.

This is the person's or family's team. They choose who will be on the team. They choose what they want to work on and how fast they want to work on it. In this way, our goal is to put people back in charge of their lives so that they don't feel helpless and powerless. Rather, we teach them how to direct their own change process which often leads to hope that their life can be different.

When this happens, things can start to change very quickly. Having said that, WrapAround is not a quick fix; we stay with people on average for a year and often longer until they feel that they can do this work on their own.

There are two other key components of a WrapAround initiative. The first is the the mobilization of the local community in which the person or family lives to provide needed in kind resources and volunteer support. There are both simple, straightforward ways to mobilize the community and there are also more comprehensive ways such as development of a Community Mobilization Team. This team of people mobilizes the community in which a person/family lives to find the in kind resources and volunteer supports that they require to have a better life and become connected to positive social networks again.

The other part of a successful WrapAround initiative is the development of a partnership at the system level amongst agencies and organizations that support the development of WrapAround initiatives at a community level. Only then can a group implement the WrapAround process with people and families struggling with multiple, complex needs to have a better life and to become part of their community.

The broader system of services at the government level began to be very interested in what we were doing as we began to learn what it takes to do WrapAround and how to implement it effectively. This began both locally and regionally first, and then at the level of provincial governments in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta and various other provinces and territories. Consequently, over the last 10 years provincial and territorial governments in Canada began to study our initiatives and fund demonstration projects and research studies.

This interest has been predominantly driven at the provincial level in the area of child and family services policy and procedures. The total cost for child and family services and especially child welfare and youth justice services were and still are spiraling out of control in a number of provinces and territories across Canada.

As a result, an increasing number of local WrapAround initiatives in a number of areas across the country have demonstrated the value of having an ongoing program offering such that the province has provided ongoing annualized funding for front line staff and a supervisor. However, what is lacking is an understanding and support in policy and funding for the other two core components that are necessary for a successful WrapAround initiative.

For more information and for a complete description of WrapAround, view this video: