Wraparound service succeeds with complex needs

Issue: Volume 98, Number 14

Posted: 16 August 2019
Reference #: 1H9x2r

A wraparound support approach putting whānau at the centre is getting results for students with challenging behaviour, social and learning needs, and proving to have a high success rate when all else has failed.

Jordan carved this patu, which represents a thank-you for the help he has received.

The behaviour of Auckland student Jordan, aged 12, was challenging – a reflection of his home environment where he experienced poverty and abuse. He was struggling to learn and on the edge of being excluded from school.

Now, 18 months after intervention by the Ministry’s service Te Kahu Toi, Intensive Wraparound Service (IWS) he is learning well and is a school leader, helping other students with their learning.

Jordan is living with his whāngai mother. He is also enthusiastically learning about Te Ao Māori and has taken up carving, which he loves.

He has made a remarkable carved artwork centred on a patu (Māori club or pounder), which now sits on the wall of a Ministry office in Auckland.

Giving whānau tools to help

The service works with the small number of young people, aged between five and 14 who have behaviour, social and/or learning needs that are highly complex and challenging for their home, school and community.

A key part of the approach is to support students’ whānau to develop ways of working and coping and expand their problem-solving skills.

“Whānau need voice and choice and access to support, and we allow that to happen,” says Ministry psychologist Chris Garrod, who is part of Jordan’s wraparound team.

Available nationwide, the service works with approximately 350 students and their whānau at one time. A plan is made to fit each person’s needs and a team, which includes a Ministry psychologist and a facilitator from Barnardos, works with the tamariki and whānau. The facilitator, Jamie, was central to the care planning process and coordinated the team and plan.

The process is guided by the underlying needs of the tamariki and whānau, as assessed by the team psychologist. There are four stages of wraparound: engagement and team preparation; plan development; implementation; and transition.

The research-based care and planning model originated in the US and has been adapted by the Ministry for the New Zealand context with the support of Māori and Pacific focus groups.

Working on underlying needs

The support and involvement of whānau is crucial, along with a clear aim.

“We achieve a high success rate when nothing else has got results. When the family and the school work together with a young person, we see great results,” says Chris.

“We worked on Jordan’s underlying needs, and not just on managing the aggressive behaviour. He has had a very challenging home life and that was causing the behaviour. Now he is much happier as he is living with his whāngai mum, Waimaria, and has strong support from the wider whānau.”

“I feel the wraparound service helped me become the person I am now in a good way,” says Jordan, “and the patu represents a thank you for all the help.”

“Without the wraparound service,” says Waimaria, “we would have really struggled to get Jordan to where he is today and the amazing young man he has grown into. I will be eternally grateful for everyone involved and we should be proud to watch him keep growing and keep achieving amazing things.”

Expressing changes through art

Jordan has been exploring art, in particular carving, to express the changes he has been through. His confidence has increased through karakia, mihimihi and tikanga, which is encouraging exploration of Ko Au. The left side of the patu represents the school whakapapa and pepeha.

“The patu to me represents a sense of unity, bonding, family and struggle. It’s like a visual of Jordan’s journey,” says Waimaria.

“Once Jordan felt that home, school and the team had him at the centre of the process and we supported each other for him,” says his school principal, “he seemed to relax and the anxiety that often manifested itself in acting out aggressive behaviours, reduced rapidly.”

Other groups and organisations providing support as part of Jordan’s wraparound team include kaiako, kaumātua, the school, sports clubs, Oranga Tamariki and ADHB. Oranga Tamariki is now piloting a similar programme, with assistance from the Ministry.

Schools wanting to access the Te Kahu Toi, Intensive Wraparound Service to help students with complex behavioural, emotional, social and/or learning needs can do so through their RTLB or Learning Support key worker.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 3:49 pm, 16 August 2019

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