Definition and History of Wraparound

Wraparound has been an integral part of Child Welfare Services in California for over 20 years. It has supported many youth and families as they transition back to family-based settings, ensuring the supports and natural resources are available to help families identify and develop strong networks of family, friends and community, as well as the tools to be self-reliant and prepared to meet life’s challenges. This section provides the significant milestones in the history of California Wraparound including policy, ICPM, the steering committee and working groups, FFPSA and the Certification Recommendations Guiding Document.

  • Wraparound Overview 
  • Wraparound is a comprehensive, strengths-based, planning process put in place to respond to a serious mental health or behavioral challenge involving children or youth. Wraparound shifts focus away from a traditional service-driven, problem-based approach to care and instead follows a strengths-based, needs-driven approach. The intent is to build on individual and family strengths to help families achieve positive goals and improve well-being. Wraparound is also a team-driven process. From the start, a child and family team is formed and works directly with the family as they identify their own needs and strengths. The team develops a service plan that describes specific strategies for meeting the needs identified by the family. The service plan is individualized, with strategies that reflect the child and family's culture and preferences. California Wraparound is intended to allow children to live and grow up in a safe, stable, permanent family environment. For children and families in the foster care system, the Wraparound process can: 

    - Enhance strengths by creating a strength-based intervention plan with a child and family team; 
    - Promote youth and parent involvement with family voice, choice and preference; 
    - Use community-based services; 
    - Create independence and stability; 
    - Provide services that fit a child and family's identified needs, culture and preferences; 
    - Create one plan to coordinate responses in all life domains; and 
    - Focus on achieving positive goals. 

    High-Fidelity Wraparound refers to adherence to all of the four phases and all of the 10 principles in order to maximize the full benefit of possible success and to maximize the possible positive outcome of the plan.
  • Wraparound Principles
  • According to, The Principles of Wraparound by Eric Bruns and Janet Walker, co-directors from the National Wraparound Institute (NWI) and the NWI Advisory Group, the principles of Wraparound are at the very foundation for this innovative and, now, federally designated effective practice service delivery model. The 10 Wraparound principles are critical in understanding the wraparound model and practicing the wraparound framework at the youth/family/team level. The 10 principles and the 4 phases go hand-in-hand in working towards high-fidelity wraparound.

     High-Fidelity Wraparound in California utilizes a similar 10-principle framework as NWI with some small modifications as follows.

     Principle 1: Principle 1: Family Voice and Choice (Family Driven and Youth Guided)
    - Family/youth perspectives are prioritized during all phases of the Wraparound process 
    - The plan reflects family and youth values, preferences, and strengths 
    - The needs of the family and youth determine how and when services are rendered, and goals, interventions and outcomes are mutually defined 
    - Youth to have an equal voice in the care of their own lives

    Principle 2: Team-based 
    - The youth & family decide who is on their team. 
    - The Wraparound team consists of individuals committed to the family and youth through informal, formal, community support and service relationships 
    - The team should be no more than 50% providers (more unpaid participants than paid/formal participants). 
    - Wraparound plans are co-authored by collecting all interested and invested parties who will work toward the youth and family vision. 

    Principle 3: Natural supports/Informal Supports/Formal Supports 
    - The team actively seeks out and encourages the full participation of team members drawn from the family members’ natural supports, informal supports and formal supports.  

    Principle 4: Collaboration and Integration 
    - All team members work cooperatively and share responsibility for developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the Wraparound plan. 
    - The plan reflects blending of team members’ perspectives, mandates and resources. 
    - Planning and services are comprehensive, and work to address the youth/family needs in all life domains and system mandates.

    Principle 5: Community-based 
    - The wraparound team implements service and support strategies that take place in the most inclusive, most responsive, most accessible, and least restric­tive settings possible; and that safely promote child and family integration into home and community life. 
    - Services and support strategies to take place in the most inclusive, most responsive, most accessible, and least restrictive setting possible. 
    - Services and supports safely promote child and family integration into home and community life. 

    Principle 6: Culturally Respectful & Linguistically Responsive 
    - The wraparound process demonstrates respect for and builds on the values, preferences, beliefs, culture, and identity of the child/youth and family, and their community. 
    - The Wraparound process demonstrates respect for and builds on the: 
       1. values, 
       2. preferences,
       3. beliefs,
       4. culture and
       5. identity of the youth, family and their community. 

    Principle 7: Individualized 
    - To achieve the goals laid out in the wraparound plan, the team develops and implements a customized set of strategies, supports, and services. 

    Principle 8: Strengths-based 
    - The wraparound process and the wraparound plan identify, build on, and enhance the capabilities, knowledge, skills, and assets of the child and family, their community, and other team members.

    Principle 9: Persistent 
    - To not deny care or services because of extreme severity of disability, and to never reject or eject the child and family from services. 
    - Despite challenges, the team persists. 
    - As needs change, so do strategies. 

    Principle 10: Outcome-based 
    - The team ties the goals and strategies of the wraparound plan to ob­servable or measurable indicators of success, monitors progress in terms of these indicators, and revises the plan accordingly.

    Overview of the Principles

  • Theory of Change
  • The California Wraparound Theory of Change was developed by the California Wraparound Fidelity and Data Outcomes Workgroup, under the auspices of the California Department of Social Services as part of an effort to establish a consistent standardized, statewide Wraparound practice model. It draws heavily from the work of the National Wraparound Initiative (NWI) which is the preeminent source of information and research on Wraparound nationally.

    Janet Walker, in an article describing the NWI Theory of Change, posits that the very nature of the Wraparound process lends itself to positive outcomes through the many opportunities that are presented to build and reinforce self-efficacy by experiencing success during the Wraparound process. Building on the NWI version, the California Wraparound Theory of Change illustrates the desired short, intermediate, and long-term outcomes for children, youth and families when counties and providers implement Wraparound programs fully aligned with the 2022 California Wraparound Standards. Specific qualitative and quantitative outcomes measures and data collection requirements support this effort as part of the development of facilitative administrative structures.

    California Wraparound Theory of Change

    National Wraparound Initiative (NWI) Theory of Change Informational Guide: This publication of the National Wraparound Initiative discusses the use of the foundation supplied by the specification of the Wraparound principles and practice model of Wraparound to propose a more detailed theory of change to describe how and why wrap­around works.
  • Wraparound Roots in California
  • In 1997, Wraparound was established in California under Senate Bill (SB) 163 (Chapter 795, Statutes of 1997) which allows California counties to develop a Wraparound Services program using State and county Aid to Families with Dependent Children -Foster Care (AFDC-FC) dollars. This legislation permits counties to use the funding for planning and service delivery instead of for placing children/youth in high-level group homes. The intent of the legislation was to return children and youth in group home care to their homes and communities or help children at imminent risk of placement in high-end group homes to remain in their homes. Wraparound may also be used for children who are eligible for Adoption Assistance Program benefits. The SB 163 Legislation requires Wraparound services to: 

    - Be family centered, individualized, culturally relevant, and strength based; 
    - Be team and community based; 
    - Identify and rely on a family's natural & community supports, 
    - Develop a child and family team plan to identify service needs; 
    - Place child in the least restrictive environment; 
    - Track and evaluate outcomes; 
    - Reinvest cost saving into child welfare programs. 

    In 2010, Assembly Bill (AB) 1758 (Chaptered 561, Statutes of 2010) updated statue to established that Wraparound was no longer a pilot project, but an optional statewide program. AB 1758 also made clear that being in Wraparound does not, by itself, change the child’s eligibility for Medi-Cal. 

    In 2017, Assembly Bill (AB) 404 (Chaptered 732, Statutes of 2017) updated statute to reflect the rate for Wraparound services to be equal to the rate for short-term residential therapeutic programs, less the cost of any concurrent out-of-home placement. AB 404 also revised the definition of an eligible child to mean (1) A child or nonminor dependent who has been adjudicated as either a dependent, transition dependent, or ward of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300, 450, 601, or 602, (2) A child who is the subject of a petition filed pursuant to Section 602 and who is participating in a program described in Section 654.2, 725, or 790, and is at risk of placement in out-of-home care, (3) A child or nonminor dependent who is currently, or who would be, placed in out-of-home care, or (4) A child who is eligible for adoption assistance program benefits when the responsible public agency has approved the provision of wraparound services in lieu of out-of-home care. 

    To review the current Wraparound statue, please visit California Welfare and Institutions Code sections 18250 – 18258.

  • California Wraparound Steering Committee
  • In July 2020 the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and UC Davis Human Service’s Resource Center for Family-Focused Practice (RCFFP) partnered to convene the first California Wraparound Steering Committee meeting. The Steering Committee adopted the following as their purpose statement in September 2020: “The purpose of the Steering Committee is to develop a collaborative California Wraparound community that seeks to build continuity in practice and improve equitable safety, wellbeing and permanency outcomes for children and families through the provision of high-fidelity Wraparound programs.” 

    Further, the Steering Committee jointly plans the California Wrapround Advisory Committee (CWAC) meetings, communicate what is and isn’t working from the field, analyze data, review curriculum and co-create policy, program, fiscal and workforce development guidance and proposals for input, advice and feedback from the California Wraparound community. 

    The Steering Committee was selected to ensure representation from county child welfare, probation, behavioral health and fiscal agencies; Wraparound providers; parent and youth partners; local education agencies; Wraparound Hubs; CWAC workgroups; and Wraparound champions at-large. 

    California Wraparound Steering Committee Members 
    Amy Bailey, California Department of Social Services 
    Tom Cella, Star View Community Services 
    Rebekah Cox, UC Davis Human Services
    Lauren Crutsinger, Seneca Family of Agencies 
    TerryLynn Fisher, Retired 
    Anabel Godoy, Olive Crest 
    Nancy Hafer, UC Davis Human Services 
    Manuel Lua, Victor Community Support Services 
    Brittany Nelson, Casa Pacifica 
    Jonathan Nibbio, Family Care Network 
    Chris Pettee, California Department of Social Services 
    Michael Rauso, LA County DCFS 
    Elizabeth Rhodes, Humboldt County DHHS 
    Dawne Shaw,  UC Davis Human Services 
    Kim Stokem, Contra Costa County Behavioral Health 
    Jarred Vermillion, Heroes Initiative 
    Thomas Webster, Santa Clara Probation 
    Daniel Wilson, California Department of Social Services 
    Janine LeSieur, California Department of Social Services 

    Collectively, this team has over 215 years of Wraparound experience, and they represent backgrounds, experiences, roles, knowledge, organizations and geographies from across California that are as diverse and varied as the California Wraparound community itself.  

    Through their efforts, the Steering Committee is also paving the way for implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). The FFPSA is federally mandated legislation that provides support to prevent entry into foster care, specialized services to foster youth in care and prioritizes family-based settings for all youth. The Governor’s proposed 2021/2022 state budget appropriates additional funding to meet FFPSA Part IV’s after-care mandate to provide support services for youth transitioning from STRTPs to family-based settings. Wraparound has been proposed as the vehicle through which to provide transitioning youth the support services required to ensure their permanency, pending budget and associate trailer bill approval. FFPSA is discussed in more detail in section e. below.
  • Wraparound Work Groups
  • In preparation for FFPSA Part IV’s after-care requirement, the Wraparound Steering Committee has developed three workgroups:

    Fiscal and Organizational Leadership
    The purpose of this group is to support the fiscal fidelity of Wraparound programs. This includes identification of potential funding streams to braid funds, development of a Wraparound estimated cost expense plan and encouraging the use of flexible funding. The group is also developing guidance regarding Wraparound contracts and serving out of county youth with Wraparound.

    Fidelity and Outcomes Data
    The purpose of this group is to develop, measure, and analyze Wraparound fidelity and outcomes statewide. This will include the development of guidance for CWS/CMS data entry for Wraparound, a California Wraparound Theory of Change document, and the implementation of a statewide data collection system.

    Workforce Development
    The purpose of this group is to develop requirements, guidance, and curriculum regarding training, coaching, supervision, recruitment, selection, and retention of Wraparound staff. This will include, but is not limited to facilitators, parent partners, youth partners, supervisors, and program leadership for both county-administered and provider-administered Wraparound programs.

    These workgroups will convene on an ongoing basis to support the successful implementation of FFPSA Part IV.
  • ICPM: Integrated Core Practice Model
  • The California Department of Social Services in partnership with cross agencies and stakeholders introduced the Integrated Core Practice Model (ICPM) as a guide that captures the effective and essential principles and practices for serving children and youth in child welfare, behavioral health, and juvenile probation. Derived from a compilation of Pathways to Well-Being Services, the ICPM is the enhanced rendition of previous service models that moves from working in an individual system/agency to working in a cross-system teaming environment. ICPM is in alignment with Wraparound with emphasis on individualized focus, team-based effort in planning and monitoring, building from a strengths-based perspective, and being guided by the voice and choice of the parent and family members.
  • Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) Implementation in California
  • FFPSA Reforming the Federal Child Welfare Financing ACIN I-73-21
    The FFPSA Aftercare Implementation presented an opportunity for California to expand Wraparound services and ensure that all families are supported when youth transition from a short-term residential treatment program (STRTP) back to a family-based home. 

    The FFPSA provided a federal mandate reforming the federal child welfare financing under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, to authorize the use of federal Title IV-E funding for specified services to families whose children are at risk of entering foster care and to limit reliance on congregate care for children in foster care.  Aftercare is one component of FFPSA.  All youth or non-minor dependents placed in an STRTP after October 1, 2021, are required to be offered and provided with six months of Aftercare support. With Wraparound’s rich history in California and its proven success for many families, California has chosen to utilize Wraparound to meet the FFPSA Aftercare requirements. As of October 1, 2021, California began initial implementation with a phased-in approach to high-fidelity Wraparound for Aftercare.  

    Phase One will begin with each county leveraging current Wraparound programs and other resources. Counties are required to provide the state with a plan developed collaboratively with their system partners. 

    Phase Two, beginning October 1, 2022, will begin full implementation with all counties ensuring the provision of the high-fidelity Wraparound requirements.  

    These requirements are being developed in collaboration with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), along with Tribes and a wide representation of stakeholders.  

    In preparation for Aftercare Phase Two, the process and requirements for county and provider certification will be developed, along with guidance and resources and data collection and continuous quality improvement efforts.  All child welfare guidance will be in alignment with the California Wraparound Standards, currently described in ACIN I-52-15.   

    With the implementation of Wraparound Aftercare, it is hoped that youth and families have the support and resources needed to plan and implement successful transitions and build strong lasting community and family networks.