Defining effective supports for students with emotional and behavioural disorders: the wraparound approach in the context of a community school
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Children and youth with emotional and behavioural disorders [EBD] have complex needs that span an array of service providers (Stroul & Friedman, 1994; VanDenBerg, 2008) and given the paucity of supports for this population they may not receive the support that they require (Burns et al., 1995; Farmer et al., 2003). There is a considerable amount of research that supports the integration of services for children and youth with EBD through the wraparound approach (VanDenBerg, Osher, & Lourie, 2009). There also is research that supports the notion that community schools may provide the most effective host environment for the integration and provision of support for this population (Dryfoos & Maguire, 2002; Grossman & Vang, 2009). However, there is limited Canadian research about the efficacy of the wraparound approach in the context of a community school. In order to explore this issue a qualitative, multi-case study was conducted of three community schools in the province of Manitoba to determine the extent to which community schools foster interdisciplinary collaboration and may support the implementation of the wraparound approach (Bruns, Suter, Force, & Burchard, 2005; Bruns, Walker, & The National Wraparound Initiative Advisory Group, 2008; Goldman, 1999). The findings from this study suggest that at the practice level, the community schools that were studied fostered collaboration and the integration of support. In addition, the community schools that were studied possessed many of the requisite conditions that support the implementation of the wraparound approach as a process to guide individualized planning for children and youth with complex needs. Barriers to the full-scale implementation of the wraparound approach in the context of the community schools were identified and primarily included system level constraints on collaborative practices. Future research may involve piloting the implementation of the wraparound approach as outlined in the “Wraparound Protocol for Children and Youth with Severe to Profound Emotional and Behavioural Disorders,” (Healthy Child Manitoba, 2013) in designated community schools within the province of Manitoba in order to build upon the strengths of community schools as effective host environments for the implementation of the wraparound approach and also to identify the means by which the system level constraints to collaborative practices might be overcome.