Child & Family Services' Wraparound program helps families by identifying community-based supports and planning with them how to best meet the needs of children with emotional and behavioral problems. The Wraparound team creates a plan that supports keeping the child at home with her family. By bringing together family members and professionals that are interested in the child's well-being, Wraparound creates an intensive family preservation plan that works through a combination of team building, coordinating both natural and professional supports, brainstorming and developing strategies, and accessing and utilizing the community's resources and services.
The Smith Family
Mary*, 30, is mom to 12-year-old Kaitlyn and 13-year-old James*. While in her 20’s, Mary became romantically involved with a crack dealer and was arrested for possessing a small amount of crack cocaine. Federal law at the time imposed a mandatory sentence of 15 years. After serving five years of her sentence, federal law changed and Mary was released. Since then, she has made significant changes to her lifestyle and is turning her life around.
Kaitlyn, Mary's daughter, was expelled from school after she dislocated her teacher’s arm. She was diagnosed with a Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED) and was referred to Child & Family Services' Wraparound program. Now enrolled in Wraparound and attending the New Campus program, Kaitlyn is doing remarkably well. She participates in a specialized program for emotionally impaired children where teachers can appropriately react to her behaviors and where she is provided with tools to help her succeed.
The Wraparound team includes a CFS wraparound facilitator, Kaitlyn's mother, her therapist from Pine Rest who provides home-based therapy, New Campus staff members, and a Mental Health Court representative. The children were 3 and 4 at the time when their mom went to prison. Subsequently, they lived with their maternal grandparents until their mother was released. By all accounts, the family is doing very well.
The Schneider Family
Wraparound services were provided to a Leelanau County family with four children, ages 10, 8, 7, and 5. The mother was in jail but was subsequently released into an addiction treatment program. Three children were living in the maternal grandparents home and the youngest was living with her biological father.
In addition to the grandparents and the mother, the Wraparound Team included a CFS wraparound facilitator, a DHHS preventative services worker, school personnel, and members of the Leelanau County Parenting Communities program. Instead of trying to access all of these services separately, Wraparound provided an organized, centralized place for the family and the child's professional supports to communicate and plan for the child's future.
After 15 months of intensive Wraparound services, during which time the mother successfully finished her treatment, the family has been reunited. All four children were returned to their mother, who has been able to establish her own residence, obtain and hold a job, and remain sober.
The child with the SED diagnosis (age 10), demonstrated significant improvements with fewer incidents of outbursts at school and at home, improved grades, and overall better behavior. In addition, the family was able to avoid involvement with the child welfare system and has demonstrated an improvement in overall functioning, an improved ability to access services, and the inclination to reach out for help.
*Some details including names and photos have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals in the stories.