Franz-2.2-_ADMIRE_ by niusheng11


									This document was peer reviewed through the NWI.

 The Principles of Wraparound: Chapter 2.2

ADMIRE: Getting Practical
about Being Strength-Based

                              John Franz, Consultant
                              Paperboat Consulting

                              A  cardinal principle of the wraparound approach is that it
                                 must be a strength-based practice. But if one asks what
                              it means to be strength-based, the answer often contains
                              a tautology—a strength-based practice is one that is based
                              on people’s strengths. For wraparound to make a successful
                              transition from a philosophy to a methodology, a more con-
                              crete formulation is needed. First we need to explain why
                              being strength based is important, then we have to describe
                              actions or behaviors that would characterize a strength-
                              based practice, and finally we need specific metrics for de-
                              termining whether and to what degree a given service, in-
                              cluding wraparound, is being delivered in a strength-based

                                             Why be Strength Based?
                                  A variety of strength-based interventions have been de-
                              veloped in the mental health, child welfare, developmental
                              disability, medical and juvenile justice fields (See accom-
                              panying box, next page). The rationale given for the shift
                              from what is usually described as a deficit or problem-based
                              model is that when an intervention focuses on what’s right
                              about a person or family who is in a difficult situation, rath-
                              er than on what’s wrong, a number of benefits accrue:
                              •   First, a therapeutic relationship is likely to have a
                                  stronger foundation when a family experiences the
                                  provider as recognizing and valuing positive aspects
                                  of the family members’ personalities, life histories,
                                  accomplishments and skills.

                              The Resource Guide to Wraparound
    Section : The Principles of Wraparound

    •    Second, if the point of the service en-
         counter is to help the family develop im-
         proved coping skills for dealing with the                              Selected Strengths-Based
         challenges in their life, it will be easier to                               Interventions
         start that process using the family’s exist-
         ing competencies and characteristics as a                          In addition to wraparound, strengths-
         foundation.                                                        based interventions have been developed
    •    Third, since a significant challenge for many                      within a variety of fields. Descriptions of a
         families served through the wraparound                             few are provided in the resources below:
         process is the lack of a natural social sup-
         port network, a process that elucidates
         and illuminates the strengths of the fam-                          Nissen, Laura. (2006). Bringing strength-
         ily members will make it easier to identify                            based philosophy to life in juvenile
         potential points of attachment that can                                justice. Reclaiming Children, 15(1),
         grow into informal sources of friendship                               40-46.
         and support.
                                                                            Linely, P. A. (2006). Counseling psycholo-
    •    Finally, if our goal is to help families with                         gy’s positive psychological agenda: A
         complex needs transition from service de-                             model for integration and inspiration.
         pendence to normalized social interdepen-                             Counseling Psychologist, 34(2), 313-
         dence, an approach that only focuses on                               322
         eliminating negative characteristics and
         conditions is less likely to be successful                         Green, B. L., McAllister, C.L. & Tarte, J.M.
         than one that balances the reduction in                               (2004). The strengths-based prac-
         vulnerabilities with a measurable and sus-                            tices inventory: A tool for measuring
         tained increase in capabilities.                                      strengths-based service delivery in
                                                                               early childhood and family support
                    What Does Being                                            programs. Families in Society, 85(3),
               Strength Based Look Like?                                       326-334.
         Despite the widespread advocacy noted                              Neff, J.M., Eichner, J.M., Hardy, D. R.,
    above, it remains difficult to describe the com-                           Klein, M., et al. (2003). Family-cen-
    mon elements of a strength-based approach with                             tered care and the pediatrician’s role.
    sufficient clarity to support reliable implementa-                         Pediatrics, 112(3), part 1, 691-696.
    tion, maintenance and improvement. Existing de-
    scriptive materials often concentrate on a given                        Blundo, R. (2001). Learning strengths-
    model’s underlying value structure, or focus on                            based practice: Challenging our per-
    its highly specific process steps. The reason why                          sonal and professional frames. Fami-
    it’s hard to pin down the components of strength-                          lies in Society, 82(3), 296-304.
    based practice is that it is a metaskill1. As such it
    represents a context or perspective within which                        Rowlands, A. (2001). Ability or disability?
                                                                               Strengths-based practice in the area
                                                                               of traumatic brain injury. Families in
        1 A metaskill is a capacity for knowing not just how to do a par-
        ticular task, but also why and when to do it, and having a grasp       Society, 82(3), 272-287.
        of the larger meaning of a given activity. Thus a skill would be
        knowing how to ask a youth to tell you a story about times when
        some of the problems she had been experiencing were less of a       Saleebey, D. (Ed.) (1997). The strength
        problem, as part of a strength-based inquiry. A metaskill would         perspective in social work practice.
        be recognizing the context of the conversation in terms of the
        youth’s culture, immediate life situation, relationship with the        New York: Longman.
        person asking the question, and the purpose for learning about
        the youth’s coping strategies, as well as a variety other aspects
        of the personal and interpersonal dynamics at play during the

                                                                                                                 Chapter .: Franz

a variety of services and activities can be carried                     enter into each service interaction with a disci-
out.                                                                    plined and informed conviction that it is a family’s
    To help strength-based practice make the tran-                      strengths that will ultimately empower them to
sition from an underlying value or philosophical                        accomplish the changes or growth that are need-
goal to a consistent way of doing business, three                       ed for them to have better lives.
things are necessary:                                                       Discovery: To put a strength-based attitude
•   First, the elements of strength-based prac-                         into practice, a provider needs a range of tools for
    tice must be defined with enough clarity                            identifying family member’s functional strengths
    to facilitate their implementation by prac-                         and key unmet needs, even when they are masked
    titioners and allow an objective observer                           or hidden, and place them in a context that sup-
    to determine when they are, and are not,                            ports proactive and individualized planning, assis-
    present.                                                            tance and change.
•   Second, sufficient resources must be in                                 Mirroring: To establish an effective rela-
    place to help practitioners acquire the un-                         tionship with a family based on this discovery of
    derstanding, knowledge and skills neces-                            strengths and needs, the provider should reflect
    sary to comfortably and consistently use a                          back these observed strengths to insure accuracy
    strength-based approach in their interac-                           and mutual understanding, to facilitate engage-
    tions with families.                                                ment and to help family members see themselves
•   Third, the organizational climate of any                            as having strengths.
    agencies whose staff are expected to use                                 Intervention: To move this relationship into
    a strength-based approach, and of the sys-                          action, the provider must have a repertoire of
    tem of care in which those agencies are op-                         strength-based and competency-building services
    erating, must actively encourage and sup-                           that can be matched with or be adapted to fit
    port the use of strength-based services.                            with each family and family member’s unique pro-
                                                                        file of strengths and needs.
             Defining the Elements                                          Recording: To maintain consistency and accu-
    What are the specific steps that a wraparound                       racy, a strength-based practitioner should have a
facilitator, family support worker, or other service                    reliable system for documenting observations, as-
provider should follow in developing a strength-                        sessments, interventions and impacts, as well as
based relationship with a family? The arc of in-                        families’ opinions, responses and outcomes.
volvement of any service encounter starts with the                          Evaluation: Finally, to assess the fidelity and
point of view the provider carries into the rela-                       effectiveness of current practices and to build a
tionship, then moves to the process through which                       foundation for service improvement, the provider
the provider gets to know the family, includes the                      should have a system for determining whether pro-
way the provider shares information and develops                        posed practices are actually being implemented,
a plan of action with them, flows into the inter-                       whether they are helping families achieve their
ventions, actions or services that form the heart                       hoped-for goals, how families feel about the as-
of the encounter, and concludes with the way that                       sistance they are receiving, and whether the pro-
the provider captures and evaluates the results of                      vider is finding ways of improving the assistance.
the interaction and services.
                                                                           Together the six ADMIRE characteristics define
    One way to describe how these six steps could
                                                                        qualitative elements that should be present in
be carried out in a strength-based manner would
                                                                        any strength-based practice model (Cox, 2006).
be to use the acronym ADMIRE:
                                                                        These elements can be expressed in many ways,
    Attitude: A strength-based practitioner should                      depending on the type of service being provided

     The core elements of the ADMIRE system were inspired by the innovative research of Kathleen Cox, who developed a model linking the
    attitudes and behaviors of practitioners who were aspiring to be strength-based with the outcomes being achieved by their clients.

    Section : The Principles of Wraparound

    and its context.                                       model should be expressed in providers’ behavior
        For example, attitude in a strength-based ju-      during each element of a service encounter:
    venile probation service model might be founded            Attitude: The perspective or orientation
    on an understanding of the role that personal,         with which providers enter into service relation-
    family and community protective factors play in        ships will have a major impact on the outcomes
    helping youth shift from a developmental pathway       achieved through those relationships. While it
    leading towards habitual delinquency to a more         is easy to say that they should start every new
    prosocial sequence, and be linked to assessment        encounter with a positive regard for the person
    tools, structured interactions, interventions, doc-    or family they are being asked to assist, in real-
    umentation and evaluation that are built on this       ity many factors make this a difficult practice to
    understanding (Pullman, Kerbs, Koroloff, Veach-        maintain. Just knowing that one is supposed to
    White, Gaylor, & Dieler, 2006).                        be looking for strengths is not enough. Providers
        An equally strength-based service for women        should understand why the exposition of strengths
    with co-occurring disorders who also have experi-      supports effective engagement with clients, feeds
    enced severe traumas may be based on an under-         into a proactive service response, and helps sup-
    standing of the role that positive, mutual and re-     port development of a positive narrative of future
    ciprocal relationships play in supporting resiliency   success for the individual and/or family. Providers
    and recovery (Markoff, Finkelstein, Kammerer,          should know how to express this understanding in
    Kreiner, & Prost, 2005).                               a variety of service encounters, and have the skill
                                                           to maintain a strength-based orientation even
              Implementation at the                        when their own situation or the behaviors of the
                 Individual Level                          individual or family militate against this attitude.
        A strength-based practice model must have               Discovery: This element will be reflected at
    at its foundation resources to help service pro-       the practice level when providers understand that
                                                           it is important to take the time to identify func-
                                                           tional strengths in each service encounter, know
                                                           how to use a variety of formal and informal tools
                                                           and techniques to accomplish strengths discovery
                                                           (to be discussed later in this article), and have the
                                                           ability to use the right tool in each situation.
                                                                Mirroring: For this element, strength-based
                                                           practice will be present to the degree that pro-
                                                           viders understand that families must see and vali-
                                                           date the potential strengths that the provider is
                                                           attempting to identify through the discovery pro-
                                                           cess, know how to use a variety of techniques to
                                                           provide feedback and obtain family input without
                                                           cueing excessive defensiveness, and be able to fa-
                                                           cilitate reciprocal relationships with family mem-
    viders understand why identifying and building
                                                           bers who come from a wide variety of personal
    on strengths is important, learn how to discover
                                                           situations and present with highly idiosyncratic
    strengths and incorporate them into the service
    response, and acquire the skills to put this un-
    derstanding and knowledge into action, even in              Intervention: Unless a practice can link
    challenging situations. The model must also pro-       strengths discovery with strengths development,
    vide the tools needed to determine whether these       it is only halfway there. A strength-based practi-
    providers have in fact acquired and implemented        tioner should understand that the most effective
    a strength-based perspective. The understanding,       interventions are those that help families acquire
    knowledge and skills supported by the practice         or improve key personal and interpersonal com-

                                                                                     Chapter .: Franz

                                                      or system of care, it is essential that an ongoing
                                                      dialog about purpose, performance, outcomes,
           Directive Supervision                      impact and improvement be maintained among
                                                      direct service providers, service recipients, super-
    Patricia Miles has developed a system             visors and managers and community stakeholders.
    that uses strength-based feedback on a            For complex methodologies like strength-based
    selected group of service data points as          practice, this dialog must be anchored in con-
    a core element of staff support and su-           crete and measurable descriptions of what is be-
    pervision. In her system, key information         ing done, how it is affecting the people involved,
    from family satisfaction reports, activity        and what is being learned about ways of doing it
    documentation and client outcomes are             better.
    gathered and interpreted at the direct
                                                          Therefore if we are to identify wraparound as
    service, unit and agency levels and or-
                                                      a strength-based practice, we must have a system
    ganized in an integrated model of human
                                                      in place that succinctly conveys both the reasons
    resource management, continuous qual-
    ity improvement, value clarification and          why establishing helping relationships through
    skill development. To learn more about            the discovery and support of families’ functional
    her model, visit                strengths is essential to assisting them in the pro-
    and click on the section entitled “Direc-         cess of growth and change, and also the ways in
    tive Supervision.”                                which this discovery and assistance is carried out.
                                                      In addition, the system must have the capacity to
                                                      quickly and accurately gauge the degree to which
                                                      the core elements of strength-based practice are
petencies to counteract the challenges they are       being expressed at any given time in the interac-
facing and know enough about the available range      tions with specific children and families, in the
of interventions to decide which ones are best        ongoing conduct of individual staff and in the cul-
matched with the strengths and needs of a given       ture and functions of the agency as a whole.
family. The practitioner should also have the skill       Finally, the system must have the ability to ac-
necessary to implement a chosen intervention, or      quire, aggregate, interpret, and feed back these
to link families and family members with provid-      evaluations to practitioners, managers and stake-
ers who can deliver those services.                   holders in a timely, accurate and useful format so
                                                      that they have the opportunity to translate the
     Reporting: Documentation is rarely a prac-
                                                      information they receive into better ways of help-
titioner’s favorite activity. Nonetheless, without
                                                      ing the families they are serving. To do this, staff
consistently recording the activities and results
                                                      will need an understanding of why data about per-
of a service encounter, the reliability of a given
                                                      formance and its effects should drive continual
practice model can easily erode. Therefore a
                                                      practice improvement, knowledge of how to use
strength-based practitioner must understand why
                                                      evaluation tools and interpret their results, and
it is as important to gather and record informa-
                                                      the skill to translate evaluative information into
tion about family and family member strengths,
                                                      service improvement. (See accompanying sidebar,
culture and preferences as it is to identify and
                                                      left, for an example of one such method.)
label the nature and extent of the challenges they
face. These days, it is also important to know how
to operate the information management system                     Support at the Agency
associated with the practice model, and to have                    and System Levels
the skills needed to accurately, succinctly and           An agency seeking to accomplish a consis-
quickly record appropriate data, including how to     tent implementation of strength-based practice
tweak the system if necessary in order to include     throughout its operations, or a system designed
competencies and accomplishments in the chart.        to make this happen across all of the participating
    Evaluation: For any methodology to become         agencies, must diligently create an organizational
infused throughout the operations of an agency        climate that models, guides, supports and rein-

    Section : The Principles of Wraparound

    forces the practice model regardless of the spe-       DVDs and on-line training programs to show what
    cific modality in which it is being expressed. Five    these skills look like in practice. Finally, agen-
    specific components of this climate that must be       cies can hold pre-service and in-service trainings
    aligned to accomplish reliable implementation of       that teach this approach; host recognition events
    the model are:                                         for those who display exceptional understanding,
                                                           knowledge and skills; and present ongoing work-
    •   Incentives for appropriate practice,               shops to demonstrate new techniques for improv-
    •   Disincentives and corrections for digres-          ing strength-base practice.
        sions,                                                 Disincentives. If those expected to implement
    •   Removal of barriers to consistent practice         a strength-based approach observe that while
        implementation,                                    agency administration or system leadership give
    •   Provision of resources to enable effective         lip-service to the model, no repercussions occur
        practice activities, and                           for the failure to deliver it, a natural tendency
                                                           will be to drop back to more familiar strategies
    •   Expressed understanding of and support             for client interactions and services. Some hier-
        for strength-based practice by leaders,            archy of response should be in place that is de-
        managers and supervisors (Allen, Lehrner,          signed to encourage accurate implementation. At
        Mattison, Miles, & Russell, 2007).                 the system level, agencies that fail to document
        Putting all five elements together in an agency    continual improvement in their ability to provide
    or system of care is no easy feat, but the more        strength-based services may need to face reduc-
    each is present, the greater the likelihood that       tion in or even loss of their contracts.
    the agency or system will acquire a pervasive              At the practice level, agencies should have
    strength-based orientation.                            the means to identify staff members who are
                                                                               having difficulty implementing
        Incentives. The number                                                 strength-based approaches and
    one incentive to strength-                                                 remediation systems to help
    based practice is establishing                                             them find ways to improve their
    a staff recruitment, selection,                                            work. It is important, how-
    retention and advancement                                                  ever, to take this suggestion in
    system that reflects strength-                                             the strength-based context in
    based principles. Human re-                                                which it is offered. The point is
    source departments should                                                  not to punish staff when they
    have the capacity to identify                                              get it wrong, but to help them
    staff that bring a strength-                                               become more comfortable with
    based attitude to their work,                                              doing it right. For example, a
    and reward those who prac-                                                 supervisor might see from fam-
    tice what they preach at                                                   ily member feedback or from
    each stage of their service                                                her staff person’s self-report
    encounters. Agencies can                                                   that a wraparound facilitator
    also post or circulate materi-                                             had a tendency to focus more
    als that support and encour-                                               on problems than solutions in
    age strength-based work. For                                               a child and family’s situation.
    example, a number of agen-                                                 Her response might be to team
    cies using the wraparound                                                  the staff person with a more ac-
    approach publish a monthly                                                 complished facilitator to co-fa-
    newsletter that includes de-                                               cilitate some teams. Or perhaps
    scriptions of successful efforts by family teams and   she might gather some of the other staff and set
    celebrations of accomplishments and innovations        up some scenarios for them to role-play together.
    by youth, families, facilitators and service provid-   The point is that since strength-based practice is a
    ers. More recently some agencies are developing

                                                                                                          Chapter .: Franz

metaskill, knowing how to walk through the steps                   emerging to overcome this barrier. First, clinicians
isn’t enough; practitioners have to get a feel for                 are discovering ways of using assessment and di-
it to be able to use it successfully.                              agnosis in a more strength-based and productive
     Removal of barriers. Strength-based practice                  way. When children and adults have serious be-
is a new approach and many of the traditional op-                  havioral, emotional or neurobiological conditions,
erational components of service systems aren’t                     having a clear grasp of what is going on and what
well aligned with the practice model. Service ac-                  can be done about
cess, billing, quality assurance and productivity                  it can be an impor-
measures, the old practice manuals lying about                     tant step in the heal-
the office, and the habits that have become a part                 ing process. Second,
of day-in, day-out work can all present barriers to                when a mental health
                                                                   diagnosis is not going
the consistent implementation of strength-based
                                                                   to be a useful part of    Probation officers,
work. To overcome these barriers, agencies and
systems may form quality practice groups to help                   the assistance a child           child welfare
identify and resolve barriers to effective imple-                  and family needs,              workers, public
                                                                   agencies are learn-
mentation of the model, to provide in vivo sup-
                                                                   ing how to “port”         health nurses and
port to staff who are making the transition to the
new approach, and to recognize and share innova-                   wraparound technol-       economic support
tions as they emerge. The transition from a stan-                  ogy into non-mental        specialists are all
dard model to a strength-based approach in any of                  health contexts: pro-
                                                                   bation officers, child         using child and
the operational aspects of human service delivery
is likely to be challenging. For example, service                  welfare       workers,        family teams to
access in standard publicly-funded human service                   public health nurses             support their
models is often based on things having gone terri-                 and economic sup-
                                                                   port specialists are                     clients.
bly wrong. Many financially strapped child welfare
agencies have limited intake to “petitionable”                     all using child and
situations – meaning that there has to be grounds                  family teams to sup-
for filing a court petition on abuse or neglect – be-              port their clients.
fore services can be provided. The strength-based                      Provision of re-
shift that is currently working its way through the                sources. If an agency
nation’s systems is called Alternative Response or                 or system is serious about transforming its current
Differential Response. Families who are at risk of                 practices into strength-based approaches, a rich
disruption, but whose current situation is not so                  array of resources to support this change should
severe as to require formal intervention are being                 be provided. These ought to include consistent,
connected with a wide variety of resources (in-                    practical training, mentoring and case consulta-
cluding wraparound in some cases) on a voluntary                   tion for staff, supervisors and managers, access to
and informal basis.3                                               outside workshops to enhance staff understanding
     Billing may be an even more difficult barrier to              and skills, strength-based formal tools for assess-
overcome than access. Many programs using the                      ment, planning and evaluation, opportunities to
wraparound process rely on medical assistance                      observe implementation of strength-based prac-
as a principal funding source. But medical assis-                  tices in other agencies either in person or through
tance requires that a specific deficit—via diagno-                 video recordings, and making sure that a strength-
sis—must be present. This means that many wrap-                    based orientation is built into the service access,
around facilitators have to start their supposedly                 delivery and funding pathways.
strength-based relationship with a family by first                    Support from leadership. Staff notice what
diagnosing and labeling the child. Two trends are                  leadership pays attention to. All the words in the

   3 For more information on Alternative Response, visit

    Section : The Principles of Wraparound

                                                   world are quickly either reinforced or erased by a
                                                   few actions by leadership. Specifically, staff will
          Resources for Practitioners              be guided by the way that leaders react to crises,
                                                   provide recognition for accomplishments, share
       For an example of a broad based applica-    in learning experiences, allocate rewards, frame
       tion of mindfulness, see:                   challenging situations and in the way that choices
          Thich Nhat Hanh (1987). The Mira-        are made about advancement and dismissal of
          cle of Mindfulness. Boston: Beacon       employees. If these events reflect the importance
          Press.                                   of using strength-based approaches with clients
                                                   then that model will gradually become a part of
                                                   the agency or system’s culture. If the overt ac-
       Or visit the website of the University of   tions of leaders contradict the espoused value of
       Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness in
                                                   strength-based practice, the labels may remain
       Medicine, Healthcare and Society at:
                                                   but the heart of the model will erode.
       Information about Nonviolent Commu-             Many published and on-line resources are
       nication and links to training opportuni-   available to help agencies and practitioners learn
       ties around the world can be found at       about and adopt a more strength-based approach
       the website of the Center for Nonviolent    in their work. Some are practice specific; others
       Communication:                              are more generally oriented. A few examples are
                             provided here as a sampling of what is available,
                                                   but interested individuals will find that a few mo-
                                                   ments of research will identify a trove of useful
       Or, see:
                                                   ideas for bringing a strength-based perspective to
          Rosenberg, Marshall B. (2002).           the full breadth of human services and education-
          Nonviolent Communication: A Lan-         al approaches.
          guage of Compassion. Encinitas,
          CA: Puddledancer Press.                      Attitude: Sometimes the best first step to-
                                                   ward a more strength-based attitude in human
                                                   service delivery is to step back and find a way of
       An extensive bibliography on Appreciative   grounding one’s perspective on a broader founda-
       Inquiry can be found at a website main-     tion. Examples of tools that can help one in this
       tained by Case Western Reserve Univer-      effort are the practice of mindfulness, the use of
       sity:                                       non-violent communication, and the technique of
     appreciative inquiry. (See accompanying box at
       An overview by Dr. David Cooperrider, who       Discovery: Wraparound uses a narrative ap-
       developed the model, is available there     proach to informal strengths discovery during the
       as well. For a more detailed description    initial engagement phase of the process. A facili-
       of Appreciative Inquiry, published by the   tator listens to the family’s stories and extracts
       institute Dr. Cooperrider founded, see:     from them examples of descriptive, contextual
                                                   and functional strengths that can serve as a foun-
          Barrett, Frank & Fry, Ronald (2005).
          Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive         dation for an effective action plan. Another ap-
          Approach to Building Cooperative         proach to identifying strengths can be found in
          Capacity. Chagrin Falls, OH: Taos        the solution-focused practice model developed
          Institute Publications.                  by Insoo Kim Berg and Steve DeShazer (1994) in
                                                   which clients are asked to identify times when the
                                                   current problem has been less of a problem and
                                                   coping strategies that they have used to address

                                                                                             Chapter .: Franz

similar challenges in the past.
Several tools for formal strengths
discovery have been developed                              Measures and Instruments for
including the BERS, the CANS, the                              Assessing Strengths
CALCAT and the YCA. (See accom-
panying box, right).                             The Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale assesses
    Mirroring: Agencies and sys-                 child strengths within the dimensions of interpersonal ca-
tems looking for a way of help-                  pacity, family involvement, intrapersonal competence,
ing staff become more effective                  school functioning and affective ability. Scoring produc-
at hearing what clients are say-                 es an overall strengths quotient and standard subscale
ing and reflecting that informa-                 scores within each domain. It can be obtained through its
tion back to them to make sure                   website at
information and meaning are be-                  aspx?Productid=BERS-2.
ing accurately shared need look
no further than the well-known                   The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assess-
practice of active listening.                   ments are a suite of open use (no fee) tools designed to
    Intervention: An increasing                  support effective service and support planning for chil-
number of services and interven-                 dren with complex needs and their families. Currently
tions are being designed from the                there are six tools available depending on whether the
ground up to help parents and                    focus is on issues in early childhood, child welfare, devel-
children establish and enhance                   opmental disabilities, mental health, juvenile justice, or
competency and resiliency (Caspe                 sexual development. The tools can be used both for initial
& Lopez, 2006). Many of these                    screening and for measuring client progress, and can also
efforts are working their way                    be used to look at system of care functioning. The manu-
through the evaluation process                   als and forms and a description of their development are
in an effort to gain recognition                 available from the CANS website, operated by the Buddin
as evidence-based practices.5 An                 Praed Foundation, which was established by the devel-
agency or a system seeking to be-                oper of the CANS, John Lyons of Northwestern University,
come firmly grounded in strength-                to support the dissemination of these tools. http://www.
based practice should regularly
and carefully examine these op-
tions and maintain an up-to-date                 The California Child Assessment Tool is a child welfare
resource array well-aligned with                 specific tool developed by the SPHERE Institute in Stan-
the needs of the population they                 ford for use in California’s county-operated child welfare
are serving.                                     systems. The tool is designed to support consistency in
    Recording: The documenta-                    assessing strengths and needs with regard to child safety,
tion and information management                  permanency and well-being and is being piloted in about 5
systems used by agencies and sys-                counties. Information about it is at http://www.spherein-

   There are many references for active lis-    The Youth Competency Assessment tool was developed
  tening. For example, Joe Landsberger has       by NPC Research in Portland, Oregon, to support strength-
  posted a succinct summary on his website
  at       based restorative justice assessment of youth in the juve-
  5 The federal Substance Abuse and Mental       nile justice system. Although copyrighted, the tool can be
  Health Services administration has estab-      reproduced and used for nonprofit purposes. Information
  lished a National Registry of Evidence-
  based Programs and Practices that keeps an     is at (Click on “materials” to
  updated roster of interventions that have      get to the section on the YCA.)
  met the criteria to be identified as promis-
  ing programs, effective programs or model

     Section : The Principles of Wraparound

     tems seeking to support strength-based practice            Evidence-based clinical practice is an ap-
     must evolve beyond being a time consuming ob-              proach to decision making in which the
     ligation through which practitioners demonstrate           clinician uses the best scientific evidence
     rote compliance to become tools that guide ap-             available, in consultation with the patient,
     preciative, interpretive and reflective inquiry into       to decide upon the option which suits the
     the relationships they are forming with clients and        patient best.
     the impact those relationships are having on the           Applying this principle to strength-based prac-
     outcomes clients are achieving (Hornberger, Mar-       tice, the purpose of the ADMIRE framework is to
     tin, & Collins, 2006). Two examples of such sys-       identify a series of anchor points so that reflective
     tems are the Synthesis data management system          practitioners can not only check themselves on the
     used by Wraparound Milwaukee (for more infor-          degree to which they are expressing a strengths
     mation visit their website at http://www.milwau-       orientation in their ongoing interactions with fam-             ilies, but also observe whether maintaining that
     and the information technology system used by          orientation is associated with helping those fami-
     Choices, Inc. in a variety of its efforts, including   lies achieve positive changes in their lives.
     the Dawn Project in Marion County, Indiana (India-         In the specific case of wraparound as a
     napolis).                  strength-based practice, the framework can pro-
         Evaluation: Although many new methodologies        vide an outline for an ongoing conversation among
     identify themselves as strength-based, and there       facilitators, family members, agencies, formal and
     is a growing consensus that the use of strength-       informal family supports and community stake-
     based approaches is a more effective way of help-      holders. To the extent that wraparound is a co-
     ing people achieve and sustain positive outcomes,      created system of reciprocal support for recovery,
     the true impact of these practices must be tested      all of us participating in using this approach and
     both in clinical settings and in the field to prove    in establishing the organizational and community
     their promise. From a clinical perspective, well-      environment that sustains it should regularly ask
     designed experimental models are needed to reli-       ourselves several questions:
     ably demonstrate what works and what doesn’t
     (Harrell, [undated]). From the point of view of an     •   Are we consistently expressing a strength-
     agency or a system of agencies, the operational            based orientation in our interactions both
     structure must include an information collection           with families and with other service pro-
     and analysis mechanism that provides practitio-            viders and family team members?
     ners, supervisors and managers with a functional       •   Do we begin each new relationship with a
     and timely dashboard that keeps them reliably in-          family with an engagement process that
     formed about key aspects of the services they are          includes formal and informal processes for
     providing and presents this data in the context of         strengths discovery?
     a metric that reflects the core values of strength-    •   Do we share the results of our observations
     based practice (Cohen, 2005).                              with our families and teams in a way that
                                                                supports an increase in mutual understand-
                       Conclusion                               ing and a shared commitment to finding a
         Ultimately, the point is not to be strength            way to make things better?
     based, but to be helpful and promote positive out-     •   Do we build the interventions in our plans
     comes. The goal of an effective practitioner is to         of care on the strengths of our families and
     bring the best understanding of the current state          design them to help families make prog-
     of the art in a given area of service to each client       ress toward accomplishing the mission they
     interaction, and to use what is learned through            have chosen for themselves?
     these interactions to constantly advance the stan-
                                                            •   Have we documented the essence of what
     dard of practice in that art. One of the originators
                                                                we have observed, what we are doing, why
     of the concept of evidence-based practice has put
                                                                we are doing it and what is happening as a
     it this way (Muir Gray, 1997):

                                                                                      Chapter .: Franz

    result, both in terms of family progress and          March 10, 2007 from http://www.ojp.usdoj.
    family and community satisfaction? and                gov/BJA/evaluation/guide/documents/evalu-
•   Are we collecting and aggregating infor-              ation_strategies.html.
    mation about our services in a way that           Hornberger, S., Martin, T. & Collins, J. (2006). In-
    provides a useful overview of what works,            tegrating systems of care: Improving quality
    where things could be better and how best            of care for the most vulnerable children and
    to achieve this improvement?                         families. Washington, D.C.: CWLA. The re-
    These checkpoints can help us maintain our fo-       port is available at
cus on strengths so that we bring to every service       grams/bhd/1integrating.pdf.
encounter the best of what we are learning about      Markoff, L.S., Finkelstein, F., Kammerer, N.,
how to assist families with complex needs. Ulti-         Kreiner, P. & Prost, C.A. (2005). Relational sys-
mately, the measure of our implementation of a           tems change: Implementing a model of change
strength-based methodology will be the degree to         in integrating services for women with sub-
which both families and family teams experience          stance abuse and mental health disorders and
a shared sense of recovery, growth and change.           histories of trauma. The Journal of Behavioral
                                                         Health Services & Research, 32, 227.
                  References                          Muir Gray JA. (1997). Evidence-based medicine:
Allen, N.E., Lehrner, A., Mattison, E., Miles, T. &      how to make health policy and management
    Russell, A. (2007). Promoting systems change         decisions. London: Churchill Press.
    in the health care response to domestic vio-      Pullman, M.D., Kerbs, J., Koroloff, N., Veach-
    lence. Journal of Community Psychology, 35,           White, E., Gaylor, R. & Dieler, D. (2006). Ju-
    103-120.                                              venile offenders with mental health needs:
Berg, Insoo Kim (1994). Family-based services.            Reducing recidivism using wraparound. Crime
   New York: W.W. Norton, and de Shazer, Steve            and Delinquency, 52, 375-397.
   (2005). More than miracles: The state of the
   art of solution-focused therapy. Binghampton,                            Author
   NY: Haworth Press.                                 John Franz, a former school teacher and legal
                                                      advocate for children and families, now works
Caspe, M. & Lopez, M. E. (2006). Lessons from
                                                      with communities and agencies around the United
   family strengthening interventions: Learning
                                                      States, helping them develop more integrated,
   from evidence-based practice. Published by
                                                      strength-based and family-centered systems of
   the Harvard Family Research Project. Available
   on line at
Cohen, D.S. (2005). The heart of change field
   guide: Tools and tactics for leading change in
   your organization. Boston: Harvard Business        Suggested Citation:
   School Press.
                                                                Franz, J. (2008). ADMIRE: Getting practical
Cox, K.F. (2006). Investigating the impact of                   about being strength-based. In E. J. Bruns
   strength-based assessment on youth with                      & J. S. Walker (Eds.), The resource guide to
   emotional or behavioral disorders. Journal of                wraparound. Portland, OR: National Wrap-
   Child and Family Studies, 15, 278-292.                       around Initiative, Research and Training
Harrell, A., et al. (undated). Evaluation strate-     Center for Family Support and Children’s Mental
   gies for human service programs, retrieved         Health.


To top