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How “Wraparound” Services Affect Black Children

By Victor Trammell

In the 1980s, a term called “wraparound” was coined in the community outreach and early childhood development sectors.

Wraparound services are defined as processes, which provide intensive care management systems for children and youths with needs that require special attention. When the wraparound services are implemented, a support system consisting of relatives, agencies, and other caregivers works together to help make life better for the at-risk child.

The nonprofit sector has become a main benefactor of the wraparound process and a primary controller of how these services are administered, especially in poor, predominantly black communities. These preventative and support service mechanisms have been around long enough for social scientists to measure the impact they’ve made over time.

Dr. Andre Perry is a commentator and activist who formerly served as the dean of urban education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Perry is also a vocal advocate of urban black children. He wrote an opinion-editorial in support of them, which was published Monday (October 4th) by The Root.

In his critical opinion-editorial, Dr. Perry called out the nonprofit-industrial complex for doing what he feels is an incomplete job in the delivery of these so-called wraparound services. To a large degree, many urban black communities across America are struggling more now with problems associated with special needs minors.

The problems have actually increased since the implementation of these wraparound services over 30 years ago.

“We’re not going to “nonprofit” our way out of poverty, housing unaffordability and economic injustice. Historic discrimination and structural inequality have laid the groundwork for multiple life-sucking neighborhood factors that black children face every day,” Dr. Perry wrote.

Dr. Perry suggested in his published call-to-action that more entities like the National Black Child Development Institute  (NBCDI) should co-exist with the charity-sponsored wraparound service providers. In Dr. Perry’s view, organizations like the NBCDI can attack the root of the problems black children are facing.

“Being black is not a risk factor. Black people are simply dealing with structures that would have people believe otherwise,” Dr. Perry continues.

“Black folk need healing in the form of high-quality nonprofit providers, but we also need organizations like NBCDI that can topple upstream sources of the pain,” Dr. Perry added.

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