Wednesday, September 7, 2022

"Wraparound support": the magical incantation that will stop teenage ram raids

Two of the most meaningless phrases in the English language are “award-winning” and “wraparound support”.

I expressed my views about awards here. Suffice to say that I’ve been involved in enough of them (though never as a recipient) to be highly sceptical. There are simply too many mediocre and even dodgy restaurants/homes/cars/wines/writers/whatever hiding behind those words “award-winning” for the term to have any cred.

Now, “wraparound support”. My antennae twitch whenever I hear the words.

I've known situations where the phrase was invoked as if it were some sort of magical incantation, the mere utterance of which would ensure resolution of whatever issue was at hand.

One case involved an elderly person in care, another a woman isolated at home with an immobilising illness. In a third instance the supposed beneficiary of the promised support was a man with a severe and chronic mental illness who should have been in a psychiatric hospital, but who was made to fend for himself under the fashionable but patently dishonest catchphrase “community care”.

All too often the so-called wraparound support resulted in what has become known as the cars-in-the-driveway syndrome: multiple do-gooder agencies turning up, compiling reports, holding meetings, filling in forms and assuring the “clients” and their families that their needs would be taken care of, but never actually achieving any demonstrable beneficial outcome – and all going to ground the moment any problems arose, as they invariably did.

I’m sure there must be instances where this thing called wraparound support genuinely works, but from my observation it more often consists of well-paid people in comfortable offices shuffling paperwork (there’s always loads of paperwork) and not enough “on the ground” helpers providing the real practical assistance that’s needed.

Now I see wraparound support being cited as the solution to Auckland’s epidemic of ram raids. Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says the teenage perpetrators will be steered away from crime by being referred to something called a social wellbeing board, which will provide that nurturing wraparound support and refer the offenders on to other agencies.  

But Sepuloni doesn’t exactly encourage confidence when she talks about how effective the programme has already been. If that were the case, we surely wouldn’t have a problem – or at least, not on the scale that exists.  

This is classic Labour: lots of PR spin, lots of buzzwords (“cross-agency teams”, “better pathways”) and a plethora of welfare agencies you’ve probably never heard of. 

In other words, lots of cars in driveways – but don’t hold your breath waiting for a reduction in the number reversing into shop fronts.



Trev1 said...

The most effective "wraparound support" for ram-raiders is four concrete walls trimmed with barbed wire and illuminated by searchlights.

Doug Longmire said...

Watch this space !! You will, I predict, get a huge response against the cuddly support for these poor children who are driving the crash and grab cars.

Scott said...

Peter Hitchens has a good take on this -

His thesis is that liberal approaches to crime have failed. We should seek to punish offenders.
Personal responsibility is the key. It's not poverty, it's not deprivation, it's people choosing to live a life of crime.

How about catching some of these offenders and making an example of them? That would concentrate the criminal mind.

Big Al said...

The last four paragraphs of Karl's essay today correctly identify the profound threat facing the West, and by extension, the world, today. The capture of our mainstream media by these ideologies is the means by which they continue to thrive, largely unchallenged. Indeed, our mainstream media in New Zealand actively suppress and deselect ideas and viewpoints which go against their narratives, despite proclamations and footnotes to the contrary. Notice the vilification of the protesters on Parliament ... a significant portion of them everyday people with a point to make. Diversity, they cry, but not when it comes to opinions. New Zealand needs a Fox News, or a Daily Mail UK, or for that matter, a 1970s-style Truth tabloid, to put the cat among the pigeons. The cosy monopolies of the major players need to be broken up. They have proved they cannot be trusted to nurture balance or fairness on their own. And if anybody doubts this, ask why trust in the media in New Zealand has sunk to an all-time low.

Karl du Fresne said...

I suspect that Big Al's excellent comment relates not to this post but to my earlier one about Mikhail Gorbachev. However it showed up as attached to this post and unfortunately the system doesn't allow me to change that.

Robtn said...

loved the terminal sentence!! Very wry and perceptive....

Sam said...

I read recently that a school in America has re introduced corporal punishment with good support from parents as suspensions etc are not working. I don't know if anyone else noticed that our problems for us the general public and teachers started when caning stopped.

Brendan McNeill said...

A quote (below) from Rod Dreher today, American yes but just as relevant for us. There are entire cities in the USA where functional families have moved out or are in the process of escaping.

"There are no government programs that can compensate for generations of collapsed family structures and family networks. We have not figured out how to replace fathers as agents of socialization for males. Until and unless we do, we are going to see rampant crime from young impoverished black males."

Not just blacks to be sure, but disproportionately. He provides statistics. Some cities in the USA have a murder rate up to three times higher than the worst country in the world. These are cities with out a future.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely well said - as usual. But surely the solution is to combine the two useless methods tried so far. Yes - remove the miscreants from their appallingly, hopelessly criminogenic (?) families and environments (of course the 'do-gooding' are doomed to failure for the most part while the environment is uncontrolled (ex-social worker)
But what on Earth is the use of cramming thousands of hugely damaged individuals together in misery, providing minimal "therapy"- and then after a time letting them out to finish their lives in more misery? It's certainly not economical. It would cost the country far less to take all the huge amount of money currently spent and give it all to the Howard League or Prisoner's Aid to forcibly provide the love/acceptance/good advice/reading recovery/training - willy-nilly - to every con, following a comprehensive in-depth assessment.
Oh they do this already? Really?

I think Oranga Tamariki provides some really loving care in their Youth Justice institutions (not helped at all by the recent hugely overblown publicity about "boys' homes" in the dark ages (but that's another story)
We can do this - why are we waiting?

Brendan McNeill said...

Dear Anonymous

We are not going to solve this problem until we are prepared to acknowledge its primary root cause; dysfunctional parenting facilitated to a great extent by intergenerational entitlement welfare.

Having identified the root cause we then have to acknowledge that human beings respond to behavioural incentives and disincentives. Therefore we need to publicly and proactively reward the good and to discourage the bad. The only tool the Government has at its disposal is money obtained through the taxation of its responsible and productive citizens. It’s a blunt instrument and poorly used is capable of doing more harm than good, but it’s the only tool we have.

The Government could pick just one social indicator to start with. Let’s begin with truancy. Reward those parents whose children meet a minimum threshold of attendence, punish those parents whose children fail to do so, either with fines (if they are in employment) or benefit reductions if they are not.

Opponents will claim that benefit reductions also punish the children. Perhaps, but that’s assuming dysfunctional parents whose children are truant actually care about their children enough to spend their benefit income appropriately. We have to treat these parent(s) with dignity and believe they have agency.

It will be tough on some parents to begin with, but word gets around quickly.

Once you have largely resolved the truancy problem, you move on to the next social indicator. The alternative is more of the same until we have entire cities that look like Jackson Mississippi where the productive citizens flee and there is insufficient tax revenue to provide clean drinking water for those urban poor who remain.

Of course this would require courage on behalf of our political class, which all but guarantees it will never happen.

Andy Espersen said...

The concept “wrap-around care and support” is synonymous with “institutional care” - i.e. residential psychiatric hospitals, general hospitals, hospices. There is nothing inherently wrong with aiming for that ideal. But we must just recognise that it can never happen while a patient remains in the community, i.e. while he/she remains at home. For 150 years (1846 – 1992) we enjoyed mental health legislation which enabled society to impose this regime on anybody not able to recognise the need to be in institutional care – i.e. designated, psychiatric hospitals. Of course, no legislation is required for people to go to ordinary hospitals or hospices. Here we are admitted – just for asking for it.

Recently I spent a couple of days in Nelson Hospital. Coming across that “wrap-around care and support” expression always made me laugh – but while in hospital I suddenly realised the real meaning of it. I was cared for in all imaginable ways. An ambulance turned up within 10 minutes in the early morning on my request. Nurses, doctors, social workers, occupational therapists, hospital chaplains appeared out of the blue, day and night – to care for little-old-me, to check on me, to test my various bodily functions, to give regular injections, etc.. I was trundled in my bed for miles - along endless corridors - for various reasons. I was given a bell to press which would immediately make my specially assigned nurse appear – to attend to whatever fancied (but unanticipated) wish of mine.

I completely changed my ideas of wrap-around care and support – and decided that I really loved it!

Karl du Fresne said...

I'm sorry to hear you've been unwell Andy, and hope you make (or have made) a complete recovery.

Andy Espersen said...

May I add to my piece above a suggestion as to the type of institutional care where we ought to place young individuals who really do need some "wrap-around support" - BORSTALS!

Perhaps we should consider creating a network of similar correctional institutions for today's young ram-raiders. No need to call them borstals. We'll easily find some suitable Maori words for such : under the iron rule of Maori tribal elders young ram-raiders most certainly never got away with it!!

R Singers said...

The problem with the solution mooted by trev1 is you introduce the young person to a graduate school for crime. And all you get at the end of the sentence is a better criminal.

Paul Corrigan said...

As a long-time (14 years) recipientof the domestic purposes benefit and then a later recipient between jobs of the unemployment benefit I became used to the verbal inventions of politicians and bureaucrats.

The horrendous assault on solo parents and their children in 1991 by the awful political twins Ruth Richardson and the parson's daughter Jennifer Shipley, with the reluctant connivance of James Bolger, was preceded with the innocuous-sounding 'redesign of the welfare state' many times in media interviews.

That could mean only one thing - benefit cuts. They coincided with John Luxton's attempted demolition of state housing. Both affected me and my children.

It made my children's lives difficult and social ostracism and mockery by other children. (My kids have told me this only in the last 10 years.)

Anyway: 'wraparound support'. This comfortable-sounding piece of horseshit was invented by Paula Bennett when as Minister of Social Development she sought to blunt and hide the true effects of her proposed 'reforms' of the welfare system.

('Reform' is another misused word - it really means to 'change for the better')

In 2013 Winz sent me on a course 'to improve your employability, Paul'. I was 63 ...

No-one wanted to employ a 63 year-old. But I was kicked out of the literacy class in the first week because I kept correcting the tutor. (His being there was a scandal.)

Anyway (again). I was surrounded by 'welfare mothers'. Many of them had small children. Wee babies.

And yet Paula Bennett and her acolytes had threatened these women that if they didn't work or get work-ready their benefits would be cut or cut off. Childcare was their main worry.

I can tell you that if you have to worry about the kids and who's caring for them you're emotionally and mentally paralysed.

The thing is when you have small children and the marriage or relationship goes pear-shaped they have to come first. In New Zealand we are vastly fortunate to have taxpayer for the mums and dads left behind holding the babies.

You become used to the verbal circumlocutions of politicians and bureaucrats. They often mean nothing. 'Wraparound support' is one of them, partly because the bureaucrats just don't know how to do it. That's what the mothers on the course found.

- Paul Corrigan

Karl du Fresne said...

Thank you, Paul, for that powerful and heartfelt statement.