KVC West Virginia is starting its fifth month of Safe at Home West Virginia, which is part of the state’s Title IV-E waiver demonstration project. March brings the addition of four new employees to assist in bringing the youth of West Virginia home to their communities. Safe at Home uses the ten Wraparound principles created by the National Wraparound Initiative. These principles help to drive the treatment that youth and families are receiving as part of Safe at Home West Virginia. This is the eighth blog in the series about the principles. (See the others here.)
PRINCIPLE NUMBER EIGHT – STRENGTHS-BASED
The National Wraparound Initiative describes the principle of being Strengths-Based as:
- “The wraparound process and the wraparound plan identify, build on, and enhance the capabilities, knowledge, skills, and assets of the child and family, their community, and the other team members.”
What this means for families – the wraparound team does not focus on youth or family deficits, as other treatment teams may have done in the past. Historically, mental health and child welfare treatment has focused on more of a medical model, which focuses on looking at problems and then trying to solve them. The wraparound model does use assessment as part of treatment; however, instead of looking at these challenges as ‘negative,’ they are reframed by using ‘positives’ that the family possesses to inform treatment. Instead of making youth or families feel worse about their situation by harping on all of the things not going so well, the wraparound model uses strengths to build the family up and encourages use of these strengths to promote growth and change.
One of the ways that the wraparound team can identify youth and family strengths is through the initial family assessment. The team assesses youth and family interests, activities, and hopes for the future. Current formal and natural supports are also reviewed. This allows the wraparound team to see what the family currently has in place. The team also reviews challenges and often finds that these can be looked at in a new way to be seen as strengths. The purpose of the team is not necessarily to remove the challenges from the family’s lives but to create opportunities and provide skills to help the families face them in a positive way – even after the wraparound team is no longer present. For example, if a child is very physically active, then getting involved in a sport may be a positive way to expel that energy while also gaining new skills and supports. It is also important to note that strengths are not always tangible; a family having hope for the future can be as strong as having a person to help. Often times, the strengths and positives are there in a family’s life; the family just needs assistance in seeing them connecting them to action. KVC, as part of Safe at Home West Virginia, is here to assist in finding and building on these strengths with resource linkage, mental health treatment, and community support.
Are you able to help a West Virginia family build on their strengths? Do you have other ways (such as volunteering, donating, mentoring) that you might help a family in need? Click here to learn more about KVC West Virginia.