RobinRobin Armstrong is a single mother of eight children. Six of the children are her own (ranging in age from 12 to 27) while the youngest two girls, Domeka and Doneka, are her nieces. The twin girls were headed into foster care because their father went to prison and their mother was abusing drugs and having a hard time quitting the addiction. Robin volunteered to bring them home with her. The girls brought with them, many challenges. They were displaying behavioral difficulties at school, at home and when interacting in the community. They could not be left alone and had to be closely supervised in their interactions with others. While Robin had experience raising children, she was having a difficult time with the twins. She asked her social worker for help and a referral was made to LA County Wraparound. When the staff members of the Children’s Bureau’s

Wraparound Program received the referral from the County, they immediately contacted Robin and began to develop relationships with her, the twins and other members of the family.

The Wraparound philosophy of doing “whatever it takes” to ensure success of the child living in the home with their family views the parents or caregiver as key players in the process. All Wraparound activities are driven by the Child and Family Plan of Care. Central to the development of this plan are the strengths and needs of the child and family, the preferences of the parents or caregiver and the development of natural community supports for the family. Caregivers like Robin are considered to be experts on the needs of their children. Rather than being told by a professional or “expert” what she should do, Robin was asked what she needed and together with the Wraparound staff and other team members, developed strategies to ensure the needs were met.

“Working with the Wraparound team was a positive experience for me. They were always easy to talk with whether it was for myself or an issue that I was experiencing with the girls. I received good information that made my living arrangement easier,” said Robin. “I have learned how to have patience and to make time for my family and the girls.”

Wraparound staff are available to assist their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to helping the family during crises or emergencies and being available to provide ideas and information, they also work with the family to help to discover and develop natural support systems for the family in the schools, the neighborhood, the faith community, other community organizations, public and private agencies, friends and relatives. Through Wraparound, families develop an effective support network, increase their sense of competence, acquire new skills for managing the special needs of their child, have access to the resources they need and no longer have to rely solely on public or private agencies for support. Children’s Bureau is one of the lead Wraparound agencies in the Antelope Valley and with two Wraparound teams, has the capacity to serve up to 16 families at a time.

“Robin took the initiative and asked a lot of questions. She remained open to new experiences and truly gave the Wraparound team carte blanche with her family. Robin is now more confident and has learned how to make her own decisions and use the information the team gave her to help with the children,” said Wraparound Supervisor De Vida Bell, LCSW.

Thanks to Children’s Bureau, Robin now has legal guardianship of the twins and is planning to adopt them. She continues to enhance her knowledge through Kinship classes and other child development classes at Antelope Valley College. Robin took full advantage of the Wraparound program and embraced the plan developed for her and the twins. She is an incredible role model for parents and caregivers who are struggling with their children. Children’s Bureau is hopeful that Robin will share her success story with others by becoming a mentor for new parents and families who enter the Wraparound program.