The Ma’atefet – Wraparound – Program: Evaluation Study

The Wraparound Program, initiated by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services (MSASS), is aims to prevent out-of-home placement of adolescents with severe behavioral and emotional problems. Its unique model rests on cooperation of all the agencies dealing with youth at risk on the local level.

For each family, a Family Support Team is appointed; the team meets at the family home once a week. It consists of the adolescent, immediate and extended family members, friends, a Wraparound coordinator, probation officer, social workers and teachers who, together, formulate a care plan based on the identification of the family’s unique concerns, needs and strengths. The care plan includes a range of therapeutic activities and selected material assistance (such as assistance for participating in enrichment activities and purchasing a computer), for the adolescent and additional family members as needed. It is carried out by drawing on the flexible use of community resources.

The program began in Beersheba in 2001 and in Haifa in 2006, and by the end of 2009 was implemented as a pilot by the MSASS Division for Correctional Services and the Service for Children and Youth, Ashalim, Haifa and Beersheba Departments of Social Services and the Shvil HaKehila non-profit organization. By 2009, 22 adolescents from Beersheba and Haifa have participated.

The evaluation study was initiated by Ashalim and conducted by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. The study goal was to assist the MSASS and Ashalim to develop and improve the program by examining the way it was implemented and its impact on the participants.

The study used qualitative techniques and was based on case studies, interviews with key personnel and documentation of the care provided to all participants. The case studies showed positive changes among the adolescents for most of the areas defined as concerns, such as a return to the school framework and a reduction of delinquency. In addition, the participants expressed great satisfaction with the program’s contribution to the adolescents and relations within the family. In addition, it was found that the flexible use of resources to tailor unique responses to each family particularly contributed to the positive outcomes. The findings emphasized that it is very important that the coordinator have the appropriate experience and professional skills to lead the teamwork.

The study findings were presented to the program initiators and leaders as a basis for strengthening the program’s continued development and implementation based on the findings. The MSASS made the decision to continue the program and expand it to four cities. The study was initiated by Ashalim and funded with its assistance.