Serving Emotionally Disturbed Youth: Lessons from the Award-Winning Wraparound Milwaukee Program

December 1, 2009

Bruce Kamradt, Administrator, Milwaukee Children’s Mental Health Services/Wraparound Milwaukee
Commentary by Julie Wilson, Harry Kahn Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Director, Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Wraparound Milwaukee, which won the 2009 Annie E. Casey Innovations Award in Children and Family System Reform, is the first government-operated managed care service designed to treat emotionally disturbed youth in the home setting. The program, which serves an annual 1,300 youth with diagnosable mental health disorders such as depression, attention deficit disorder, or learning impairments that prevent normal functioning in home, school, or outside community settings attempts to reduce costly and arguably ineffective residential care options by offering a host of individualized treatments that allow youth to stay with their families. Care options and services include tutoring and after school programs, group care, recreation and camp, arts programs, and substance abuse treatment. In addition, the program encourages family members to play a more active role in the treatment process as members of the care planning team.
Cosponsored by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance, the Wiener Center for Social Policy, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and Harvard’s Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management.