Wraparound News

Seeking partners for rigorous research on Wraparound

August 03, 2020 | Maria Hermsen-Kritz

The evidence for the effectiveness of Wraparound has continued to grow over the past 20 years, but findings from randomized controlled trials have been mixed. Several contributing factors, such as inconsistent fidelity monitoring and variations in implementation, have impacted the results of these trials (Suter & Bruns, 2009). For these reasons among others, Wraparound is typically listed as a “promising” (rather than well-established) practice in registries such as the California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. Federal funding opportunities, such as the Family First Prevention Services Act, have increased the demand for rigorously tested, well-supported evidence-based preventative practice models. Given the mixed findings for Wraparound, and the fact that most rigorous Wraparound outcomes studies were conducted on initiatives that do not conform to high fidelity standards, more such studies of well-supported Wraparound programs are needed.

NWI and UW Wraparound Evaluation and Research Team are seeking members of the NWI community who lead or are affiliated with Wraparound initiatives, and who may be interested in participating in a randomized or quasi-randomized controlled trial of Wraparound. Thus, we are reaching out to the NWI community to identify partners who may be interested in serving as research sites when an opportunity to conduct a trial becomes available. 

At this time, we are particularly, although not exclusively, interested in evaluating Wraparound initiatives that serve youth with: 

  • “Serious emotional and behavioral disorders” (SEBD) or mental health needs; 
  • Child welfare involvement; 
  • Juvenile justice involvement; and/or
  • Involvement in programs serving transition-aged youth. 

We are seeking interested partners whose Wraparound initiatives meet the following criteria and are willing to discuss conducting a rigorous evaluation of their Wraparound program:

  • Currently implementing Wraparound with fidelity, as demonstrated with at least one tool from the Wraparound Fidelity Assessment System (WFAS). Ongoing fidelity monitoring will be a key component of the evaluation.  
  • Willingness to participate in a rigorous evaluation (randomized or quasi-randomized design) that enables comparison of outcomes for youth enrolled in Wraparound versus youth with similar characteristics and level of need enrolled in some alternative set of services (e.g., uncoordinated care “as usual,” child welfare or justice services “as usual,” institutional care). 
  • Willingness to partner actively with the research team, facilitate submission of study materials for approval, etc.

If a partner is interested in pursuing a randomized controlled trial, an appropriate funding mechanism will be identified and applied for in collaboration with the NWI and UW Wraparound Evaluation and Research Teams. The goal of the funding would be to support the evaluation procedures of a current Wraparound initiative rather than funding the implementation of a Wraparound initiative. Thus, we are looking for programs or services that you are currently operating or that you are planning to roll out or expand in the near future.

Please submit a your name and contact information to Eric Bruns ebruns@uw.edu and Tony Bonadio fbonadio@ssw.umaryland.edu if you are interested in further discussing the possibility of collaborating on such a project.