Community Program 'Wraps Around' Families

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. - The wintertime brings with it unique challenges for already struggling families.

"Many of our families and students face challenges such as food scarcity, such as heating in the winter months," said Dr. Denise Harden, District Supervisor for Covered Bridge Special Education District. 

When basic needs aren't met, it's harder for families to address behavioral and psychological issues. This can lead children to act out in school and can lead in some cases to a risk of children being placed outside their homes. 

For families that need help beyond 'traditional' services, Hamilton Center offers a Wraparound program for local families. 

"WrapAround comes in before that and tries to keep them in the community, so that is our role is to keep the kids in the community so they can be successful," said Dwight Weaver, Wraparound Supervisor at Hamilton Center. 

Wraparound works off of referrals from various community partners, such as Department of Child Services or Vigo County School Corporation. The partnering organizations then meet to determine which families will be accepted, and which will be referred to other services. (Eligible families have children ages 5-8, or up to 21 if still in school, and are Vigo County residents.)

Then comes the initial meeting, where a collaborative crisis planning process begins.

"We have a family team meeting for all of our families once every month, so when we do that crisis planning up front, so that way they can follow that plan, so as the month goes on, they know what to do and how to handle if a crisis were to come up, if they were to become aggressive, depressed or suicidal, whatever it may be for that client," said Weaver. 

Wraparound families meet with partnering organizations several times a week - in school, at home, or at after-school programs - and progress is assessed at the monthly team meetings.

"Did we decrease your runaways from once per week to once every other week, or did we decrease your aggressive behaviors from three times a day to once every other day?" said Weaver. 

Weaver says success will look different for each family, but community partners stress that Wraparound provides success just by its unique collaborative nature.
"It gives a voice to the families and the students that's often not heard, and its outside of our traditional model, so they go above and beyond again to wrap around, to connect, to collaborate," said Harden. 

Families are typically involved in the Wraparound program for 12-18 months. 

To learn more about the program, call Hamilton Center at (800) 742-0787 or click here.

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