Seeking to change many families’ perceived view of Social Services as a hostile environment, the Integrative Wraparound (IWRAP) Process takes a holistic approach to human and social services by involving clients as partners in their own aid. During one IWRAP training session in the summer of 2001, participants were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the training session, instructors, and IWRAP concept. The results of this evaluation are summarized and analyzed in Dinah S. Amankwah’s report, Integrative Wraparound (IWRAP) Process Training.
The Saskatchewan Rural Wraparound Project was developed “to enable families in need and their communities to share responsibility in support planning and provision, and build on individual and collective strengths” (p.2). To this end, participating families invite those whom they trust to be part of their “team,” balancing this against professional service providers’ involvement. This team works together to develop support plans that identify a family’s needs, and formulates a plan based on strengths consistent with the family’s values. This holistic approach’s aim is to make the relationship between those in need and those providing services more of an equal partnership, rather than one of authority and subservience.
Among the institutions participating in this program include: several provincial health districts and school divisions; a detachment of the RCMP; several First Nation’s bands; and the provincial Department of Social Services. The training session consisted of 56 participants from numerous agencies and community groups. Training involved considerable large- and small-group activities, discussion, and simulations. The sessions strove to provide information in a manner that would simulate that of a family’s experience with service providers, in waves rather than all at once, so as to better appreciate what a family goes through when it approaches social service providers. Overall, participants found the training experience quite positive, giving the session format, activities, presenters’ skills, and training manual all a high rating. However, trainees unanimously believed that too much information was presented during the two-day sessions, feeling that more time was needed to properly assimilate so much content. Additionally, all the trainees believed that regular refresher courses would have been beneficial. Several participants praised the program for bringing together different professional groups to share experiences and approaches. A further observation was that IWRAP needed to be better publicized, for some participants said that their administrators were barely aware of the process. Given the labour- and time-intensive nature of IWRAP, greater awareness is crucial for it to be effective.
Participant feedback suggests that IWRAP holds great possibility for redefining the idea and practice of human and social services. Participants were quite enthusiastic about its prospects, but believed more time for training and greater awareness in the service provision community was necessary for the program to reach its maximum potential.