Multiple Perspectives of Teams’ Experiences
of a New Zealand Wraparound Process*
Jacinda L. Shailer, Ruth A. Gammon, and Ian de Terte
Massey University, Wellington
Since it was first introduced in the 1980s, Wraparound has been defined as ‘a philosophy,’‘an approach,’ and ‘a
service’ which is designed to work with youth and families with high and complex needs. Wraparound is most
commonly understood as an intensive, individualised care planning process. It aims to achieve positive outcomes
through a structured, creative, and individualised team planning process, which results in effective and more rele-
vant plans for the youth and family. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of Wra-
paround facilitators, caregivers, youths, and team members to gain a multi-perspective insight into the process.
Sixteen families and Wraparound teams participated in the study which resulted in 56 semi-structured interviews
being conducted involving 16 Wraparound facilitators (some facilitators were interviewed more than once
because they served multiple families who participated in the study), 16 caregivers, eight youth, and 16 team
members (one person from the team, i.e., teacher, social worker, or mentor). Thematic analysis gave seven
themes organised into three broad domains: (1) key elements of the Wraparound process including the Wra-
paround facilitator, Wraparound’s philosophies and principles, and the supportive nature of the process; (2) the
outcomes achieved throughout the process including family empowerment and hope, improved family dynamics
and relationships as well as individual parent and youth change; and (3) the challenges and feedback respondents
identified through the process, which included personal and systemic challenges, improved transition, and continu-
ity of care, role clarity, and accessibility of the service. Overall, the findings from this study support Wraparound
as an effective process for youth and their families, identify the importance of key aspects of the process, and sug-
gest some improvements to increase the efficacy of and accessibility to the process.
Keywords: Wraparound, youth experiences, family experiences, mental health, interventions, qualitative
1 Explains how the Wraparound process is experienced by those it serves.
2 Gives insight to the various aspects of the Wraparound process and their importance to youth and
3 Reviews the principles of Wraparound which are viewed as important to families and young people.
4 Demonstrates the importance of the therapeutic relationship in the Wraparound process.
5 The results give a consumer’s perspective of what is important in a therapeutic relationship.
There are a number of evidence-based family therapy interventions available for youth
with high and complex needs, yet many continue to experience poor long- and short-
term outcomes. There is often multiagency involvement with interventions for work-
ing with the entire family where seeing a therapist weekly is not enough. Intensive
interventions that are individualised, holistic, and comprehensive are needed to
address the complex needs of these youths and their families (Burns, Hoagwood, &
Mrazek, 1999; Burns et al., 2000; Mitchell, 2012; Shailer, Gammon, & de Terte,
Address for correspondence: Ruth A. Gammon, School of Psychology, Massey University, Welling-
ton, New Zealand. email@example.com
*Manuscript part of completed doctoral dissertation by publication.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 2018, 39,67–89
ª 2018 Australian Association of Family Therapy