Creating teams of support for youth facing difficult times
When a youth faces serious mental health and other developmental challenges, it often affects many aspects of his or her life; from school performance to behavior at home and in the community. This means that it is not enough to address the problems in just one area – it takes a team approach and a coordinated effort to make change throughout that youth’s life.
This is where wraparound services come in. Through a collaborative process, a variety of system providers (such as school, court, child welfare, mental health, and others) work with the youth’s family to actually “wrap around” a youth and his or her unique situation. The team looks at the youth’s challenges from all angles and works with him or her to create a positive plan for moving forward.
How it works
Wraparound services are an innovative way to help a youth transform his or her life with the encouragement of a diverse and engaged support team. A Wraparound Coordinator guides the process, coordinating the system professionals, encouraging the family’s voice and choice, and working toward consensus about possible solutions. The Wraparound Team can also include people in the family’s personal, social, or spiritual networks, such as friends, extended family members, ministers, and neighbors.
Working together through a planning session and ongoing check-ins, the Wraparound Team creates a meaningful plan of action for the youth and provides a space where everyone involved can discuss what is working and what can be improved. The process strengthens a youth’s support system for the long haul. Services vary with each team and individual plan but can include:
- Coordination of multi-system services and supports
- Crisis and safety planning
- Community Living Supports
- Access to non-traditional supports and services, such as music, art, and recreational therapy
- Access to flex funds
- In-home mental health services, including therapy, behavior management consultation, and coordination of psychiatric services
- Therapeutic camps
Nationally more than 100,000 youth and families have participated in the Wraparound process. Studies have shown that the Wraparound process produces:
- Significantly fewer out of home placements
- Significantly greater improvement in functioning at home, school and in the community
- Decrease in at-risk and delinquent behavior
- Decrease in unexcused absences, expulsions and suspensions from school
- Decrease in youth running away from home
- Decrease in juvenile court intervention
In Kent County, a waiver process made it possible for more youth to access wraparound services. Since its inception in 2010, this process has resulted in 82% of youth staying in the community rather than being placed in or returning to residential treatment centers.
Youth who meet the following criteria are eligible:
- Have a Mental Health Diagnosis
- Significant impairment across multiple areas of the child’s life such as home, school, community and relationships with others
- Multi-system involvement such as mental health, school, child welfare and juvenile justice
- Ages 5 to 17
Mental health providers, probation officers, Department of Human Services case workers, foster care case managers and schools within the Kent School Services Network are able to make referrals to this program. If you are unsure about how to obtain a referral, please contact Arbor Circle’s Home Based Services at (616) 456-6571.