Funder: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Author: Dayana Simons, Sheila A. Pires, Taylor Hendricks, and Jessica Lipper

July 2014 | Technical Assistance Tool


Approximately one in 10 children in the United States has a severe emotional disorder, and mental health issues represent the most costly health condition among all children in the nation. These children and youth can benefit from approaches to care that are individualized, coordinate services across systems, are youth- and family-driven, and incorporate peer support.

Intensive care coordination using high-quality wraparound is one approach to care that has demonstrated improved outcomes and reduced costs for children and youth with serious behavioral health needs and their families. In May 2013, a federal bulletin on behavioral health services for children with significant mental health conditions highlighted intensive care coordination using wraparound as a promising approach to care for this population.

This practical guide, made possible by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, profiles states and counties that have implemented intensive care coordination using high-quality wraparound for children and youth with serious behavioral health needs. It outlines key features for established programs with demonstrated cost and quality outcomes, as well as for programs in the early stages of development. The resource is designed to help states and communities that are considering such programs to understand how they can be structured, implemented, and evaluated.