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The Wraparound Process

The wraparound process for children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families has been implemented in hundreds of communities nationally. However, achieving consensus on what wraparound actually is has been elusive.

The basic philosophical base of the wraparound process has been relatively well-accepted. As such, the Wraparound Evaluation and Research Team has based the development of the Wraparound Fidelity Index on these principles or elements.

Describing the specific procedures of wraparound has been more challenging. There are a variety of descriptions of the wraparound process in the national literature, and the description of wraparound in state and program regulations can vary greatly from place to place and program to program.

Despite the challenge of understanding wraparound, there has been significant progress in recent years specifying the model and coming up with a consistent description of its procedures. Perhaps the best place to find a comprehensive source of information on the wraparound process is the website of the National Wraparound Initiative. Here you will also find results of this ambitious research and consensus-building project, including a description of the phases and activities of wraparound, principles of wraparound, and necessary supports for wraparound. You will also find an entire issue of Focal Point, a publication of the Portland State Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health, dedicated to describing and achieving high-fidelity wraparound.

Members of the National Wraparound Initiative have also created several summary documents about wraparound and the evidence base for wraparound for public-domain online toolkits and other resources. You can find one of these here.

The Wraparound Evaluation and Research Team also recommends several additional pieces of reading on wraparound:

Walker, J.S., Bruns, E.J., & Penn, M. (2008). Individualized services in systems of care: The wraparound process. In B. Stroul & G. Blau (Eds.). The System of Care Handbook: Transforming Mental Health Services for Children, Youth, and Families. Baltimore: Brookes.

Walker, J.S. & Bruns, E.J. (2006). The wraparound process: Individualized care planning and management for children and families. In S. Rosenberg & J. Rosenberg (Eds.) Community Mental Health Reader: Current Perspectives. (pp. 44-54). New York: Routledge.

Burchard, J. D., Bruns, E.J., & Burchard, S.N. (2002). The Wraparound Process. In B. J. Burns, K. Hoagwood, & M. English. Community-based interventions for youth. New York: Oxford University Press.

Eber, L. (2003). The Art and Science of Wraparound. Bloomington, IN: Forum on Education at Indiana University.

Kendziora, K., Bruns, E., Osher, D., Pacchiano, D., & Mejia, B. (2001). Wraparound: Stories from the field. Systems of Care: Promising Practices in Children's Mental Health, 2001 Series, Volume 1. Washington, DC: Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice, American Institutes for Research.

Burns, B. J. & Goldman, K. (Eds.) (1999). Systems of care: Promising practices in children's mental health, 1998 series, Vol. IV: Promising practices in wraparound for children with severe emotional disorders and their families. Washington DC: Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice.