Wraparound Services

The term "wraparound" was first used in 1986, in an article by Dr. Lenore B. Behar. She defined "Wraparound" as a way to "surround multi-problem youngsters and families with services rather than with institutional walls, and to customize these services to the individual needs and strengths of the child and family." As a "non-traditional" service, Wraparound services may be provided by people who have particular skills to be shared with the child and family or who have the capacity to develop a relationship with them - not necessarily people who are professionally trained. Also called "holistic," "non-traditional" or "individualized," services the Wraparound approach is more a process than a service. Dr. Behar's innovative thinking lead to a major change in the approach to serving children and families.

Over the past 22 years, many professionals have worked to enhance the use of the wraparound process and have developed specific activities to be included, training programs and assessment of fidelity to the model. In the Acknowledgments section of their book, Everything is Normal Until Proven Otherwise, authors Karl W. Dennis and Ira S. Lourie wrote:

Interestingly, the term "Wraparound" did not come from either of us. You can read Kaleidoscope's staff training manuals and you'll never see it there. Our friend and colleague, Lenore Behar, created it in her work in North Carolina. At the same time we were working in Chicago and Washington, DC, Lenore was in North Carolina developing a program for some of that state's hardest-to-serve youngsters, on whose behalf a class action suit had been brought. The program she created was known as the Willie M program, and was developed to serve youth who were retarded, mentally ill, and aggressive - in a community-based setting. She believed these youngsters could be served in the community rather than in institutions, if you "wrapped" services around them instead of walls. Thus the term Wraparound services evolved.

Karl W. Dennis & Ira S. Lourie
Everything is Normal Until Proven Otherwise