NJCMO Newsletter

Wraparound programs help coordinate services for youth with complex healthcare needs, including behavioral health issues and their families.

In 1999, the national Wraparound initiative was developed by Wraparound America. This came about when The Children’s Mental Health Act (CMHA) was passed into law under President Clinton. In 2001, there were over 100 Wraparound programs across the United States following the ten principles below.

Wraparound Model of Care

Each CMO (care management organization) utilizes the Wraparound model of care, relying on these ten principles:

1. Family Voice and Choice

A systemic approach to treatment, Wraparound emphasizes family and youth perspectives in order to provide services that are in accordance with the family’s needs and wishes. The team aims to give the family the choices and alternatives they desire by focusing on their ideals and preferences.

2. Team Based

The Wraparound team is made up of individuals who have been chosen by the family and committed to them through informal, formal, and community support and service connections.

3. Natural Supports

The team actively seeks out and encourages all members of the team to participate fully in their family’s network of interpersonal and community ties. The Wraparound strategy includes activities and measures that draw on natural sources of support.

4. Collaboration

A single Wraparound plan is developed, implemented, monitored, and evaluated by the team. The plan incorporates the ideas of team members, goals, and resources. Each member’s job is directed toward achieving the teams’ objectives via the plan.

5. Community Based

The goal of the Wraparound program is to support children and families who are experiencing or at risk of physical, emotional, or behavioral challenges by providing services in the most inclusive, responsive, accessible, and least restrictive settings possible while also promoting child and family participation in home and community life.

6. Culturally Competent

The Wraparound model is a balanced approach to service delivery, which recognizes and respects the youth/family values, preferences, beliefs, culture, and identity, while recognizing the unique circumstances in which the youth and family live.

7. Individualized

The team creates and implements a customized set of methods, assistance, and services in order to achieve the Wraparound goals.

8. Strengths Based

The Wraparound process and plan rely on, build upon, and enhance the child’s abilities, knowledge, skills, and assets; as well as those of their family, community, and other team members.

9. Unconditional

Despite difficulties, the team stays focused on attaining the objectives outlined in the Wraparound plan until they are confident this intensity of intervention is no longer required.

10. Outcome based

The goal and strategy of the Wraparound plan are connected to visible or measurable indicators of success, with records kept on progress in terms of these markers, and as a result, the plan is adjusted.

National Wraparound Initiative

The Wraparound approach’s philosophies have long served as a framework for learning about this cutting-edge and widely used service delivery method.

From Wraparound’s origins in initiatives such as Kaleidoscope in Chicago, the Alaska Youth Initiative, and Project Wraparound in Vermont, this value foundation for working with families extends beyond the traditional approach of individual care. 

A monograph on Wraparound was published in 1999 that outlined ten essential components of wraparound as well as ten practice principles from the perspective of practitioners.

These elements and practice principles spanned activity at the team, organization, and system levels. Some elements were intended to guide direct work that happens with the youth, family and hands-on support people at the team level; some referred to work by the agency or organization housing the wraparound initiative at the program level; and some guided the funding and community context around the wraparound activities at the system level.

For many, the above original elements and ideas became the ideal tools for comprehending the Wraparound approach. They also provided a crucial foundation for initial attempts to assess its impact.

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