Ohio Coaching Practice Level Target Descriptions: An Overview of the Tools and Their Uses
Welcome to the Coaches Corner. This corner of the Ohio Wraparound Website is dedicated to supporting the coaches who work to support effective Wraparound implementation across the state.
Here you will find resources intended to help Coaches do the work of coaching, document the work of coaching, and reflect on and improve the impact of the work we undertake. Specifically, you will find:
Access to all the existing and emerging tools being developed to help define quality Wraparound practice at multiple levels; direct care, supervision, and cross system management.
Forms and tools for documenting and reporting coaching activity.
Connections to other national and regional resources as they are discovered and included here.
The work of supporting effective Wraparound implementation is an important element of fostering effective care and support for families, youth, and young adults across the state. The Coaches Corner can grow and adapt based on our use of these tools and feedback about what else needs to be developed.
There is a strong history of wraparound implementation across several counties in this state. ENGAGE has prospered others to take up the development of Wraparound capacity as a part of a more effective System of Care at the local level.
The structures and resources that communities use to create a “nest” for wraparound vary from county to county. Funding has historically been through a mix of local and other resources, with varied patterns in place in settings across the state. The actual delivery of wraparound has also varied. Variations occur in who does Wraparound, how it is accessed, how it is delivered, and how it is integrated with other community services and resources.
In an effort to provide guidance about how high fidelity Wraparound is best “practiced” in the state of Ohio a group of historied providers from counties with a significant capacity to provide Wraparound, state FCFC and other staff, and resource people made available through the training contract with Case Western University have developed a set of Wraparound practice descriptions designed to help align practice across the state. The attached practice targets describe a range of practices in the provision of wraparound and sort them using the categories of “Best Practice”, Acceptable Variation”, and “Unacceptable Variation”. This strategy was chosen in order to create a tool that can be used to help local staff, supervisors, and community stakeholders enter into a meaningful dialog about the “fidelity” of the way Wraparound is implemented at the local family team level. The tool set breaks these practices down into six “buckets”. The buckets reflect areas of prioritized focus for effective Wraparound implementation. The six areas are:
- Effective partnering and positioning of the facilitator with family and team members
- Assuring Youth and Family Driven Process
- Effective Team Development and Maintenance
- Utilizing Effective needs statements that align with the process and the products of Wraparound
- Managing Team Meetings Effectively
- Assuring Help content that is more diverse than simply the application of services
Rather than lay out a set of “how to” instructions, or a set of rigid standards that might not survive local structures and implementation patterns, the practice level target descriptions are designed to point to practical, concrete implementation strategies that can differentiate features of high fidelity Wraparound practice from other team based practice patterns . The tools identify a range of practice that can be responded to in local capacity development efforts.
Clearly the hope is that “Best Practice” becomes the target that holds Wraparound practice together across the state. These are practices and capacities that align with key Wraparound principles articulated by the National Wraparound Initiative. Moreover these are practical concerns and considerations that frame the challenges in delivering effective Wraparound facilitation. Together they create a benchmark for quality and fidelity.
“Acceptable Variation” is a set of practices that are acknowledged to be present in community implementations, often due to learning curve issues, local structures, or simply personal understanding on the part of the staff implementing Wraparound. They represent “acceptable variation” from the norms of practice articulated in the “best practice” descriptions. There are many reasons and situations in which “acceptable variation” can be effective or necessary. The utility in this tool comes in the growth of individual staff and community practice patterns toward being able to more consistently implement “best practice”. This growth typically occurs through regular review of practice, identifying growth areas and challenges, and the necessary support to move practice from what it is to what it can be.
The first two categories of practice descriptions define a working target for fidelity implementation of Wraparound at the team and facilitator level. “Unacceptable Variation” lays out a boundary between Wraparound and other team based practices. The intention of the tool set is to provide a concrete description of some of the practices, affiliated with family team meetings and the facilitation thereof, that are not effective, do not align with Wraparound principles, and should therefore be avoided. When these practices are identified in the field it is important to support changed facilitation patterns and skill sets that will enable more consistent implementation of practices described in the “Acceptable” and Best” practice patterns.
It is anticipated that these tools can be used in a variety of ways by a variety of people across the state. Practitioners of facilitation can find tools and ideas in these descriptions to help them refine their understanding and implementation of Wraparound. Supervisors can use these tools to initiate or continue a conversation with individual or groups of staff that is directed at improving the match between current and best practice. System stakeholders can use this to help build appropriate expectations for staff who participate in wraparound teams and to help staff strategize how they can support an effective wraparound process around an individual family they are involved in serving and supporting. Ohio’s home grown coaches can use this tool to help implementers at the practice and management levels interpret and respond to the targets laid out in these tools.
Possible use patterns for these tools
The Ohio Coaching Practice Level Target Descriptions set out to define a range of practices that can support improved alignment between current Wraparound implementation and a vision of more consistent high fidelity implementation. The tools are expected to be useful for a variety of people in a variety of roles across the state. “Target” or use audiences include the following:
- Facilitators who implement the Wraparound process
- Supervisor and managers who support facilitators
- System stakeholders who are or manage staff who participate in Wraparound teams
- Ohio Identified Wraparound Coaches
Any of these audiences may find utility in these tools. Some of the possible applications for these tools for each group are listed below. These are not the only foreseeable uses for the tools but rather represent some starting points for their use by each audience.
Learning Guide: As facilitators learn to be increasingly effective in their work with teams the Coaching Tools can be used to gain a fuller understanding of some of the ways that key Wraparound principles can be implemented or reflected in team facilitation. The Tool set can be explored through each of the “buckets” and across the buckets to improve a facilitator’s grasp on the hallmarks of fidelity related practice.
Self Assessment Tool: As facilitators work to improve their practice over time the practice descriptions can be used as a self assessment tool. A facilitator can conduct a self assessment by identifying where their work falls in the ranges described in each of the buckets and the specific topics in each bucket. A comprehensive self assessment, looking at all topics and all buckets, can be done but is probably quite time consuming. Options for better use may include targeting a given bucket each week or month and reflecting on facilitation practice in that time period and literally marking on a copy of the practice descriptions instances when practice fell in the “best”, “acceptable” or “unacceptable” ranges. A pattern of consistent self assessment can help facilitators identify areas of expertise and areas of growth over time.
Supervisors and Managers:
Teaching Tool: Supervisors are typically responsible for helping direct care staff, in this case facilitators, to be the most effective they can be in implementing Wraparound for individual families. The Coaching Tools can be used to help staff define effective Wraparound practice patterns, thereby informing the “fidelity” of the work they do. The tools can be used to better define practice expectations through individual or group review of the content of each of the six bucket topics. Individual topics within the buckets can be used to promote improved practices through supervision or live observation experiences where supervisors work directly with staff in developing a practice pattern that is closer to “best” practice than not.
Learning and Review Cycles: The tool set can be used as a resource in regular review cycles, whether they take place as a part of a cyclic performance review, or simply as a part of on-going supervision. The practice definitions avail themselves to increasingly accurate conversations between facilitators and supervisors about the “how” and the “why” of the work they do. A shared assessment process, in which the facilitator and the supervisor each individually rate where they see practice aligning with each of the ranges, can serve as the beginning of a regular usage of these practice descriptions for identifying individualized learning targets for staff, that can be coupled with individualized learning action plans that the supervisor and facilitator implement jointly
Policy Level Review: Cross system leadership can use these practice definitions to examine what current community practices support effective Wraparound implementation, which, if any, community and system practices can be adapted to better support these practice expectations, and which, if any, community and system policies conflict with these practice expectations for high fidelity Wraparound. These reviews, or conversations, contribute to an increased understanding of the conditions and functions that need to be in place at the community, single system, and cross system levels to support effective Wraparound implementation. The resolutions any identified “rubs”, places where policy and procedure do not align with the desired patterns of practice, are a significant contributor to creating an environment where effective Wraparound practice can thrive and be sustained over time.
Inter-agency conditions review: Whether undertaken jointly or severally the practice descriptions can be used by system stakeholders to examine and articulate how current system or organization practices align with the various practice levels described in the tool set. For example, a supervisor in a system that participates in wraparound teams could review these targets with their staff with any of the following goals in mind;
- To aid their staff in understanding the expectations related to high fidelity wraparound
- To ask and answer the ways in which their organizations practices align with these practice ranges
- To help staff understand how to be more effective team members in a system of care that is using high fidelity Wraparound
These conversations can substantially support effective wraparound implementation by improving the understanding of and participation in team processes by other system staff.
Ohio Identified Wraparound Coaches:
Teaching tool: Coaches can use these practice descriptions as a tool in helping facilitators and managers involved in receiving coaching to better understand what “best” practice wraparound implementation looks like. The descriptions can be used in both a pre-coaching and post coaching follow up setting.
Review and feedback tool: The practice descriptions in the Practice level target definitions can be used by coaches to articulate specific observations and recommendations they may see as they interact with facilitators and managers around what their specific “local” practices are. THE tool set allows the coach to de-personalize the feedback and allows reference to an articulated range that may make it easier for both coaches and facilitators to focus on the content rather than the messenger in coaching interactions.
Practice Improvement Targeting: Through regular use if these tools over time with specific facilitators and supervisors Ohio Wraparound coaches can develop, in partnership with those they are coaching, clear expectations and targets for skill development and efficacy improvement. The tool sets offer a clear set of target descriptions that can be used to identify specific areas of focus for both facilitators and managers who support them. Coaches can then use these target areas to plan next steps and next interventions with specific members of specific communities who are facilitating Wraparound processes with families.
There are certainly other possible uses for these tools. The practice definitions stand as a resource to assist people in the state of Ohio to better understand Wraparound practice at the facilitator level and to be a resource in supporting improved alignment between current practice in any community and what we understand to be some of the “best” practices in implementing Wraparound for and with families.