A Comprehensive Review of Wraparound Care Coordination Research, 1986–2014
Wraparound is a team-based care coordination strategy for children and youth with complex behavioral health needs and their families. Despite widespread adoption, a review of the literature pertaining to Wraparound has not previously been conducted. To address this gap, we conducted a comprehensive review, ultimately identifying 206 unique Wraparound-related publications in peer-reviewed outlets. We then coded and analyzed the publications’ methods, main foci, measures, and findings. Eighty-three publications (40%) were non-empirical, most of which focused on defining Wraparound and advocating for its use, largely based on its alignment with the System of Care philosophy. Among empirical studies (n = 123; 60%), 22 controlled studies were found, most finding positive or mixed evidence for Wraparound’s effectiveness. Other empirical studies examined implementation issues such as necessary system conditions and measurement and influence of fidelity. Major gaps include rigorous tests of Wraparound’s change mechanisms, workforce development models, peer support, and the use of specific treatments. We conclude that literature produced to date has provided useful information about Wraparound’s core components, program-level and system-level implementation supports, and applicability across systems and populations, as well as preliminary information about effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. The Wraparound research base would, however, benefit from additional studies of the model’s intervention and implementation components, as well as more rigorous effectiveness studies.