January 26, 2017
From Lauren Conn, Wraparound Youth Support Partner, Washington County, Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon
Team Planning Process
Wraparound is a team planning process that supports youth and their families in reaching their goals while remaining in their communities. Wraparound teams typically include youth, family members, professional supports, and natural supports who come together to create individualized plans to support the success of the young adult. It is critical to the overall success of the wraparound process that these plans remain both youth and family driven.
The inclusion of a wraparound youth partner ensures a more efficient and supported wraparound process for youth and their families. The role of the wraparound youth partner is to empower the youth to use their voice in team meetings and also work to ensure that the team both respects and incorporates the youth’s perspective in decision-making. Wraparound youth partners are specially trained young adult peers with lived experience in youth-serving systems. Unlike most traditional support professionals, wraparound youth partners are able to build unique and lasting connections with youth based on their shared lived experiences.
For many system partners, a youth-driven support process is still a new idea and one that will require many shifts in the traditional understanding of youth support services. Many youth also find it challenging to make this shift away from the traditional process and into a greater leadership role within their treatment plans. These challenges make the presence of a wraparound youth partner that much more invaluable. The youth partner is able to empower the youth to take on this responsibility and assist them in becoming comfortable having their voice heard. The youth partner works closely with the team to ensure full understanding and supports the youth as they guide their treatment plan.
I work for Youth M.O.V.E (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience) Oregon and have served as a wraparound youth partner for the last year. My immense passion for this work grew out of my personal experience with systems, particularly the youth mental health system. While system-involved, I often felt that I didn’t have a voice and was rarely invested in my treatment because I was not allowed to be part of the planning process. As a wraparound youth partner, I have the opportunity to help youth have their voices heard and ensure that they are able to be active participants in the treatment planning process. It is an incredible privilege to get to watch youth become empowered to take charge of their lives, gain confidence in making treatment planning decisions, and establish goals for their future outside of wraparound.