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In Oregon recently, it was my privilege to visit Wraparound Oregon, a team process focusing on the strengths and needs of children with emotional challenges. The program is designed to meet the needs of each individual child or family.
The family themselves chair a team of professionals, other family members, and support workers, and then together designs a safety plan and identifies service gaps present in meeting the needs of the special child. The team works together to overcome those hurdles. The team and the family share responsibility and accountability and the coordinated system of services creates a cost saving for the state and county while increasing available resources to families.
The system is designed for overwhelmed families who find themselves dealing with foster care, mental health, and juvenile justice systems simultaneously, while youth are shuffled from agency to agency never receiving the coordinated care or amount of care needed. In Nebraska we call it “the silo effect”. In Wraparound Oregon, the families decide the supports needed, and help direct the process. By creating and enacting a targeted plan developed specifically for each child and their family, there are no service gaps or duplication, and there is more effective use of available funds.
Oregon has three wraparound programs, early childhood, school age, and Nak-Nu-Wit, a native specific project.
Wraparound is working well in other states, also. Hopefully Nebraska will be able to share similar success stories in the future.