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 Coordinating Center for the Managed Behavioral Health Care in the Public Sector Children with SED Study

Individualized Children's Wraparound Services in Mississippi

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Individualized Children's Wraparound
Services in Mississippi

Background and Purpose

Wraparound grew out of a nationwide effort  in the 1970s to reform children's mental health services which were recognized as being too restrictive, insensitive, inefficiently organized and poorly targeted to those in need. Wraparound is both an approach and a specific set of services. In their classic statement, John VanDenBerg and Mary Grealish (1996) define wraparound as follows:

    Wraparound efforts occur in the community, where services are individualized to meet children's and families' needs. Parents are included in every stage of the process and the approach must be culturally sensitive to the unique racial, ethnic, geographical and social makeup of children and their families. The process of wraparound is designed and implemented on an interagency basis using an interdisciplinary approach in which providers have access to flexible, noncategorical funding. Wraparound services must be delivered on an unconditional basis where the nature of support changes to meet changes in families and their situations. Finally, wraparound involves the measurement of child and family outcomes to determine the effectiveness of services that ensure that appropriate populations are being served.

This project, funded by the Community Action Grant program of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), consists of two phases. In Phase I, the goal of the project was to gain consensus among key stakeholders to implement wraparound services for  children with severe emotional disorders (SED) in the state of Mississippi. These key stakeholders include mental health and social service providers, members of children and family advocacy organizations, representatives of State child-serving agencies (e.g., Departments of Health, Human Services, Education, and Mental Health), youth court officials, legislators, foster parents, teachers, and community leaders. Project activities, which were coordinated by Mississippi Families as Allies and supervised by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, focused on educating stakeholders about the wraparound process and identifying  barriers to implementing wraparound services and potential solutions. These activities included a two-day conference, regional town meetings, newsletters, focus groups, trainings, and meetings with State task  force groups authorized to monitor services for children with SED.


The process evaluation of project activities conducted by the MHSRP found that consensus among stakeholders to implement wraparound services was successfully achieved. The following outcomes are evidence of attainment of this goal:

  • Development of an Action Plan incorporating strategies to overcome barriers and to begin to provide wraparound services to children with SED.
  • Approval of the Mississippi Department of Human Services' IV-E waiver application to provide community-based services in eight counties to children with SED.
  • Inclusion of a $1,328,000 funding request for community-based children's services was written into the FY99 State Mental Health Plan.
  • Increased number of Multi-disciplinary Assessment and Planning (MAP) teams to identify resources and recommend service plans for children with SED who are at risk for out-of-home placement.

In Phase II, the project sought to further implement and integrate the values and practice of wraparound into the service delivery system for Mississippi children with SED. To accomplish this goal, Phase II project activities included (1) intensive skills building training for providers and families in wraparound; (2) consultation to policy planners and legislators in strategies to fund and sustain wraparound; (3) focus groups in which providers and families discussed the wraparound implementation process in their communities; and (4) drafting and presenting the Blueprint for the Future to the State legislature to ensure continuation of wraparound services in Mississippi. As of April 2001, over 400 stakeholders have participated in skills building training, consultation, and focus group activities.

The Phase I Process Evaluation Final Report is available from UIC MHSRP.

Project Staff:

    Project Director - Phase I
    Joseph Bevilacqua, Ph.D.
    Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

    Project Director - Phase II
    Tessie Schweitzer, MSW
    Mississippi Families as Allies

    Evaluation Director
    Susan Pickett, Ph.D.

    Evaluation Co-Director
    Judith A. Cook, Ph.D.

Center for Mental Health Services
Center for Mental Health Services

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law


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Last updated Tuesday, July 02, 2002