The Wraparound scheme for disabled children was introduced in the Southern Health and Social Services Board in October 2001. The aim of Wraparound is to enable disabled children and their families to have access to information, assessment and where required services to develop their optimal potential for personal development and social inclusion. To achieve this vision, all partners in the project needed to develop new multidisciplinary and interagency ways of working which will make a difference to the lives of disabled children and their families. Wraparound embraces partnership as the preferred way of working between parents and professionals, young people and professionals and between agencies.
Wraparound consists of eight projects built around the re-organisation of the Child Development Clinic from a single centre to five centres and there are 15 partners involved. The projects are shown in Table 1. Wraparound encourages services to use a holistic approach to assessing and meeting needs and improve coordination between professionals and agencies. A major part of the scheme is to provide parents with practical help with breaks from care.
Table 1. Projects included in Wraparound
A. One Stop Child Development Clinic Outreach to each Trust Area
B. Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) / Southern Education and Library Board
C. User Participation of Children with Disabilities in Strategic Planning of Services
D. Autism Specific Service Provision with the Southern Health and Social Services Board
E. Mencap Family Support / Play Advisor
F. Newry and Mourne Health and Social Services Trust / Orana Family Support Centre
G. Craigavon and Banbridge Community Health and Social Services Trust / Banbridge Willowgrove Project
H. Armagh and Dungannon Health and Social Services Trust / Oaklands Project
Is Wraparound making a difference?
An interim evaluation has been completed which identified a number of strategies that have worked so far in making the vision a reality. These include; clear communication, working together on plans, consulting with all stakeholders, building networks across agencies, encouraging “champions” for the initiative and not being afraid of raising expectations.
Strategies that have helped improve services for children and families include; using accommodation that is local, child and family friendly, individualising the service rather than a “one size does not fit all”, flexibility and adaptability- tolerating variation in approaches and across areas and meeting the family at home as well as in service settings.
The evaluation also identified difficulties encountered by the project, these included; the low level of engagement of the education sector, attitudes of professionals (including administrators) towards partnership working and respect for other stakeholders, defensiveness of staff in health, education, social services to new approaches and young people’s participation and priorities need to be recognised and acted on by services and other stakeholders.
What lessons can be learnt from Wraparound?
Since the project started two years ago, there is evidence of improved multidisciplinary and interagency working, but there is still a lot of work to be done! There is evidence of greater inclusion of disabled children and young people in mainstream provision. Partnership working, parental involvement and extending the ethos of Wraparound to mainstream services have been identified as areas needing further development. The model of service delivery promoted by Wraparound can be replicated in other areas.
Further information on the project can be obtained from www.shssb.org.
A representative from the voluntary sector summed up his experience “Wraparound has been something of an “arranged marriage”- the parties may not have welcomed the union, but over time have come to know and respect one another and even love one another”
Dr Brid Farrell, Consultant in Public Health, SHSSB
2nd March 2004
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