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Wraparound Principles of Safe at Home West Virginia – Family Voice and Choice

KVC West Virginia is in the beginning stages of implementing Safe at Home West Virginia, an initiative put forth by the state of West Virginia to bring children and youth in out-of-home care back to a family setting with relatives, foster or adoptive families. The Safe at Home West Virginia initiative is a Title IV-E waiver demonstration project and is based on the 10 Wraparound Principles put forth by the National Wraparound Initiative.  This is the first in a series of blogs highlighting the Wraparound Principles.

Learn more about the first principle below and how it will play a role in Safe at Home West Virginia:

The National Wraparound Initiative explains Family Voice and Choice as the following:

  • “Family and Youth/child perspectives are intentionally elicited and prioritized during all phases of the wraparound process. Planning is grounded in family members’ perspectives, and the team strives to provide options and choices such that the plan respects family values and preferences.”

What this means for families – what children and families want is very important. One saying that KVC West Virginia uses often is ‘families are the experts on themselves.’ Families know best about their needs, concerns, and strengths. They know of their own internal resources and supports and where they need some assistance. They know things that they are and are not willing to do. If Safe at Home can work together with families to gain this knowledge, then it ensures a solid foundation in which assessment, treatment planning, and the implementation of services can occur.

This means that professionals and community partners have to put their biases aside. Child welfare providers may sometimes think that they know what is best for families due to their experience and knowledge. However, when this is done, they often miss what the family has to contribute and frankly miss the boat on providing the best care. If we don’t involve families in all aspects of care, then they aren’t necessarily invested in the plan and things may not improve.

Family Voice and Choice allows youth and family to be respected while providing input into their own treatment. While this doesn’t mean that the family has the only input, it does mean that the family voice is just as important (if not more important) as the other team members. The family can speak freely about their concerns, opinions, and strengths without fear of judgment. It also gives the other team members a unique opportunity to learn more about the youth and family. These voices can join together to provide the best level of care and ultimately bring more children and youth home from out-of-state placements.

KVC is proud to participate in the Safe at Home West Virginia Initiative and to help youth and families have a voice and choice in their care. Read about the next principle –  Wraparound Principle Number Two: Team Based.