This project conducted a meta-analysis of outcome studies to better understand current empirical support for wraparound services intended to improve outcomes for children and youth with serious emotional and behavioral disorders.
Wraparound is a team-based service planning and coordination process intended to improve outcomes for children and youth with serious emotional and behavioral disorders and support them in their homes, schools, and communities. Given the substantial resources devoted to implementing wraparound, the current project conducted meta-analysis of outcome studies to better understand current empirical support for this process. A literature search identified seven studies between 1986 and 2008 that documented the effects of youth receiving wraparound compared to control groups. Mean treatment effects across outcome domains ranged from medium for youth living situation (0.44) too small for mental health outcomes (0.31), overall youth functioning (0.25), school functioning (0.27), and juvenile justice-related outcomes (0.21). The overall mean effect size across studies was 0.33. Interpretation of results was complicated by the lack of consistent documentation of implementation fidelity across studies and conditions, variations in target population and intended outcomes, and methodological concerns. The authors conclude that, though the published wraparound research base is expanding, and findings are largely positive, it continues to be in a preliminary state of development. However, there are insufficient data to support calls for wraparound’s acceptance or dismissal based on the strength of existing studies. (Published abstract provided)