The 10 Principles of Wraparound Are More Achievable Than You Think

By Caretivity

Caretivity helps social workers stay connected so they can provide better care to their clients. 

July 20, 2020

If you’re familiar with the wraparound process, you probably know, or have heard of, the ten principles of wraparound.

The National Wraparound Institute (NWI) outlined these ten principles to help practitioners achieve the best possible outcomes for families and clients. Each principle helps ensure that families receive the most appropriate services and work off plans designed to best suit their needs. According to the NWI, this list is adaptable and can be updated as research and practice continues.

Executing each principle may be easier than you think. Our app, Caretivity, accelerates the wraparound process by allowing the entire team to communicate easily and effectively from their smartphone.

Organizations using Caretivity have shared with us that their staff sees most of these principles occur naturally within the app. Wraparound teams don’t need to undergo large initiatives or plan how they will adhere to the principles. Just by downloading the app and getting a few people to join the team, most of the principles occur naturally.

Below we will outline the principles, their importance, and how Caretivity helps your teams execute them safely, securely, and effectively.

1. Family Voice & Choice

No one on the team knows the circumstances of the family they serve as well as the family members themselves. Family voice and choice states that during all phases of the wraparound process, the perspectives of the family and children should be the top priority when planning and decision-making.

Families that take ownership of the decision-making process and make their voice heard are more likely to see successful outcomes.

However, according to the NWI, this family ownership and engagement isn’t likely to occur unless team members intentionally include them in conversations and explore their perspectives. Team members need to ensure that the rest of the team hears those perspectives and takes them into consideration.

But as you may know, getting families to engage is hard. Parents may disengage because they feel like the team is working against them and are often dealing with their own stress and trauma. One natural response to stress can be disengagement—so in team meetings, an oftentimes stress-inducing environment for parents and children, families may not feel comfortable speaking up.

Family Voice & Choice with Caretivity

With Caretivity, our social workers say they see an increase in parent engagement.

When teams include parents in their team inside the app, the parents have an open and confidential line of communication they can access whenever they feel comfortable. Our users say that parents can think through and craft messages from the comfort of their home, not stuck in a room surrounded by people. This makes them feel more comfortable speaking up, providing input, and making sure their voice is heard.

When parents communicate through Caretivity, the entire team can see their response, ensuring their input is visible and taken into consideration.

By simply providing Caretivity to parents, teams see an increase in the amount and quality of communication.

2. Team-Based

The wraparound team should include people who all have an interest in improving the lives of the client or family.

These people can be:

  • Family members
  • Teachers or guidance counselors
  • Service providers, such as therapists
  • Professionals from other systems and agencies
  • Natural supports, such as neighbors, friends, or coworkers
  • Probation officers
  • Anyone else the family would like to be involved

The team can consist of anyone who wants to help the family, as long as the family or client approves.

Team members can each bring their own skills and perspectives to the table. They can each have access to different sources of funding or services. Even if they don’t have much to provide to the team, someone on the family’s side can still mean a lot to them.

But it’s sometimes difficult to get people involved.

Schedules may not work out for everyone to attend meetings. Some team members may not be responsive via email or phone, and some may not want to share their contact information with members of the team.

Team-Based Wraparound with Caretivity

Before Caretivity, team members couldn’t actively participate with the team without finding time to attend meetings. Even then, their participation was limited to one or two times a month when the team would meet.

But with Caretivity, team members can jump into the app whenever and wherever to catch up, ask questions, provide feedback, or address any needs immediately.

Caretivity allows team members to participate and be part of the team without a lot of the hassle.

Can your wraparound team benefit from these principles? Enter your email below to learn how Caretivity makes it easy.

3. Natural Supports

The team should try to tap into the family’s existing relationships by involving natural supports.

To expand on the second principle, the team should include and encourage participation from natural supports. A natural support is someone who has developed a relationship with the client naturally, like a neighbor, a friend from school or church, or a coworker.

Natural supports are important because clients and families see them as people willing to help them. A client may see a team full of formal professionals as intimidating and feel like they are working against them. A natural support, or even a couple natural supports, can help the family feel like the playing field is level and that they have people on their side to ensure their fair treatment.

It’s tough for clients and families to form a close relationship with their team, but with someone they already know on the team, it feels less threatening.

Keep in mind that the team needs to be intentional about involving these natural supports. Asking for their input enables further communication and helps the client and family feel like the team cares.

Involving Natural Supports with Caretivity

It’s hard enough to get parents to engage in the process. Engaging a natural support and finding time for them to meet with the group can pose even more challenges.

But now, Caretivity allows anyone on the team to participate from anywhere, at any time. The team can tap into natural supports for insight, feedback, and support with a simple message.

Anyone who has helped the family throughout their lives can be identified as a natural support and invited to the team. It takes seconds to get someone into the team.

4. Collaboration

Wraparound is a team effort. It’s important that everyone on the team works together to make decisions and work toward the goal of the family.

The whole team needs to determine the best goals for the family and how best to accomplish them.

This principle may sound like it contradicts the family voice and choice principle. Family voice and choice may sound like a dictatorship where the family makes all the decisions. Collaboration sounds like a democracy, where everyone has an equal vote.

Instead of one or the other, the two principles need to work in conjunction. The family is not the decision-maker of the group; they are simply part of the decision-making team. The team, however, needs to understand that the family has the best perspective, is impacted the most by the decisions of the team, and needs to take that into consideration when arriving at conclusions the family will have to live with.

Team Collaboration with Caretivity

Before Caretivity, collaboration meant finding time to get everyone in the same room maybe a handful of times in a year. The team would get together, agree on a plan, get excited to make a difference, then go their separate ways until next time.

Caretivity keeps the team together and communicating in between meetings. Collaboration isn’t once in a while; it’s every day when teams use the app.

When teams are reminded of the needs of the family on a consistent basis, they stay focused on solving the problems that matter and make progress more quickly.

Caretivity also keeps the entire group involved. Email chains, phone calls, and meetings will naturally (and unintentionally) exclude people from the conversation. Caretivity’s group chat feature allows everyone on the team to see and join the conversation.

5. Community-Based

This principle recognizes the importance of families being positively involved in their communities.

Teams should ensure that their families are able to identify and access services within their own communities and participate in the activities around them. These activities can be school, sports, recreation, or even relationships, which all help support the family.

Community Involvement with Caretivity

Sometimes barriers that prevent family involvement in the community can be addressed in a team meeting. But often, barriers arrive at a moment’s notice: transportation problems, a sick kid, long work hours. Each barrier may prevent a family from attending a meeting, receiving services, or involving themselves in community activities.

With Caretivity, families can seek help identifying which services in their community may be best suited for them and get a response in seconds, allowing them to break down barriers and improve their lives. A simple message is all it takes.

6. Culturally Competent

The wraparound team must respect the cultural values of the family. Teams should find ways to incorporate cultural identity into their service plan and even the makeup of their team.

Families can find a sense of belonging when their cultural differences are respected, encouraged, and supported. Finding a sense of belonging with their cultural group can give them a new sense of purpose and motivation.

Teams can support cultural competence by:

  • Including religious or cultural leaders in the team, such as ministers, rabbis, and tribal leaders
  • Offering services in the family’s preferred language
  • Getting families involved in cultural activities, such as festivals, meetup groups, and clubs

7. Individualized

Most of these ten principles imply that the goals set forth by the team should be individualized.

With a group of people, chosen by the family, who decide on a plan, driven by the family and their unique situation, cultures, and communities, you should hopefully end up with a plan that is unique to that family.

Teams cannot simply apply cookie-cutter solutions to problems, even if those solutions worked with prior wraparound teams. Each family is faced with their individual barriers to success. Therefore, the plan needs to be individualized to overcome those barriers.

Individualized Goals with Caretivity

Caretivity has a dedicated section to set forth your team’s primary needs, which can be customized as you see fit. Once you create a need (“Goals”), the team can establish the steps (“Milestones”) needed to meet that need.

This allows each team to have individualized goals for the families they serve.

8. Strengths-Based

Throughout the wraparound process, it’s easy for teams to focus on where the family fell short, which can be demoralizing for those families.

Instead, teams should focus on the strengths of their families and how they can use those strengths to overcome challenges. This doesn’t mean they try to eliminate the weaknesses of families, but rather play off their strengths to overcome their challenges.

The team should also identify and use the strengths of each other. Each team member, whether it be professionals, natural supports, or family members, has their own unique skills and knowledge to help move the team toward their goals.

Embracing Strengths with Caretivity

Sometimes a quick word of encouragement or a congratulatory remark is enough to validate someone’s strengths and keep them motivated to move forward.

With Caretivity, this message is easy to send to the team at any time. From our experience, clients and families love seeing a “well done!” note and seeing the rest of the group agree.

Teams also use Caretivity as a way to identify and assign tasks to the appropriate team member based on their strengths. Before, teams would wait until the next meeting to assign tasks. Now team members can address and solve problems immediately.

9. Persistent & Unconditional

Sources list the ninth principle as either “persistent” or “unconditional.” We consider this principle to be persistent and unconditional support for your family.

Regardless of what happens, what people say, or the actions of team members, everyone on the team should continue to work toward meeting their needs.

Sometimes goals take longer to achieve. Sometimes team members lose hope. Sometimes families need continued support even when things look promising.

Team members may get discouraged and give up on family members when it seems like they no longer want to improve. Some families may achieve all their goals but digress back into bad habits once they lose support.

Teams should not give up on their families in good times or bad.

Persistent & Unconditional Support with Caretivity

Caretivity lets team members check in with each other—Team members can send a message in the group chat or request an update on an assigned task. These consistent check-ins remind team members to stay motivated and continue to work toward their goals.

Updates on tasks (“Milestones”) that are sent from team members or the family are great insights into the small, incremental steps being made that will ultimately result in higher-level goals being achieved.

Even when teams achieve their goals, Caretivity is a great, low-touch way to continue to keep tabs on your families and keep an open channel of communication for help and support.

10. Outcome-Based

When goals are established and teams work persistently to achieve them, they should know when they have successfully accomplished them.

Outcome-based goals should be “SMART” (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely). This means that goals should be clear and meaningful, and the team should know when they have accomplished them.

Without outcome-based goals, the team won’t know where they stand or if their plan is working.

Outcome-based goals allow teams to seek additional help when they fall short and challenge themselves to improve.

Outcome-Based Goals with Caretivity

Caretivity allows teams to set goals, assign tasks, and track progress toward those goals. These features keep the whole team aware of the plan and their performance. The team’s awareness eliminates confusion on what happened or what needs to happen next.

By breaking the team’s high-level desired outcomes into smaller needs (“Goals”), then breaking those needs down into smaller, more immediate steps (“Milestones”) that can be accomplished this week, teams have a clear view into what needs to happen now, and then next, to get the family to their desired outcomes.

With Caretivity, teams can assess and adjust services needed in real time. For example, if a team realizes that a family can’t meet their needs because reliable transportation is a barrier, they can address that issue and adjust their plan on the spot to make that the priority. Since this day-to-day work appears in real time, the team can still meet the other needs without sacrificing time by adjusting the plan.

Teams can accomplish so much more for their families in less time by using Caretivity to communicate.

The 10 Principles of the Wraparound Process

Interested in Caretivity for your organization?

Contact us if you have questions about how Caretivity can help your team or organization better collaborate and coordinate services.

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