In 2019, the Gonski Institute for Education awarded a research grant to UNSW School of Education researchers, Associate Professor Terry Cumming and Professor Iva Strnadová that focused on wraparound models of support. The project, titled ‘A Wraparound Approach to ‘Whole of Student’ Issues: Education, Health, and Community Services)’ investigated an existing wraparound model, the Ngaramadhi Space, at Green Square School.
According to the researchers ‘There is a growing population of students with complex needs, including those with disabilities, mental health issues, and social disadvantage. When left unmet, these needs increase students’ risk of poor outcomes, including educational disengagement, precarious housing, substance misuse, and involvement with the juvenile justice system. Many students with complex needs receive a variety of services both in and outside of school, and a lack of central coordination of these services results in both gaps in and overlapping supports, resulting in poor outcomes.’
Education systems have attempted to address some of the issues encountered by young people with complex needs by instituting various models of integrated care, such as “wrap-around” systems. Effective wraparound models typically involve merging education with other sectors, such as health, and involve a community liaison officer, counsellor, or school nurse as the lead coordinator to manage ‘whole of child’ issues. This research project examined existing wraparound theories and models, and as well as the wraparound support service needs of schools in regional areas. In addition to adding to knowledge in the field, an important outcome of this study was the development of a wraparound implementation guide.