The Wraparound Committee created the above definition of Wraparound in response to the question: “How can I explain Wraparound in a nutshell to someone?” We needed a brief, consistent phrase to use that would capture the heart of Wraparound. After some deliberation, we agreed on the above. It doesn’t explain everything about Wraparound, but it does explain that this is a supportive, team effort for families who may feel overwhelmed by the complexities of life.
As useful as this definition may be, I really like this explanation: “Wraparound is a small scale example of the larger picture of collaboration.”
As a collaborative, we try to work together with a common mission of helping families. We sit at committee meetings to brainstorm ways we can streamline services, maximize our resources, and avoid duplication of services. We may disagree on specifics, but there is still a common mission keeping us together. Once a month, parents and partners of PACT for Families come together at collaborative meetings to hear about what is going well with our agencies and committees and discuss how to work around barriers to the overall mission of the collaborative. A lot of good collaboration happens over lunch!
Now picture this: A mother, pastor, friend, school, social worker, therapist, employment specialist, and public health nurse sit around a table over the noon hour. At this particular meeting, lunch is provided. There is a stated common mission to provide support and resources for a mom who is overwhelmed with the special needs of her youngest child. The employment specialist asks the mom and public health nurse more about the specific needs of the child, as they are writing up an employment plan. But there is a barrier: the mother’s car is not working and she cannot get the child to her medical appointments (and her other child to his activities). The pastor offers to talk to some people from the congregation, who he thinks can help with transportation until the vehicle is fixed.
The friend, it turns out, has a nephew who is studying auto mechanics at the community college. Perhaps he could look at the car as part of his school program?
The mom brightens when she hears from the school social worker that school is going better for the older child. She needed to hear that today! He has struggled with anxiety, but the supports the school has put into place have helped him cope. He has been worried about his younger sister and all her needs. What should she tell him? Mom suggests a suitable response and the team nods. The therapist jots down the response as well, and will ensure that he has time in group to talk about his anxieties.
By the end of the meeting, an overwhelmed mom has been encouraged by the support of this team. Significantly, the meeting ends with a plan in place. The team approach has worked well. Parent and partners have come together to hear what is going well and discuss how to work around barriers to the overall mission of the team. A lot of good collaboration happened over lunch. A team approach that supports families with complex needs has also provided for us a small-scale example of the bigger picture of collaboration. As someone has observantly quipped, “Working together works.” ~ Dr. Rob Gilbert
Char Erickson, Wraparound Coordinator
(320) 231-7030 ext. 2964