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Families and Schools Together (FAST)

Health Factors: Education
Decision Makers: Educators Grantmakers
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Families and Schools Together (FAST) is a group-based family intervention to improve family functioning and make children more resilient against risks such as school failure and delinquency. The program seeks to help parents improve family relationships and increase social support networks, empowering them to improve their children’s outcomes (Crozier 2010). Groups of 9-12 families gather for eight facilitated 2 ½ hour weekly meetings that include a family meal, structured activities, parent support time, and parent-child play therapy. Families then run monthly follow-up meetings for 2 years (YG-FAST). FAST has been expanded to include Baby FAST, Pre-K FAST, Kids FAST, Middle School FAST, and Teen FAST (FAST).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Improved youth behavior
Improved mental health
Improved social emotional skills
Increased school engagement
Increased parental self-efficacy
Improved social networks
Improved family functioning

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that FAST improves children’s behavior and social skills (YG-FAST, Fiel 2013). Parents also benefit from the program as family functioning improves (Crozier 2010).

For participating elementary school children, FAST reduces aggression and problem behaviors directed at others (YG-FAST). The program also helps children improve their social skills and avoid withdrawal, anxiety, and depression (SAMHSA-NREPP, YG-FAST). In a Phoenix and San Antonio-based study, FAST participation reduced the likelihood that black students attending primarily Hispanic schools switched schools. Switching schools can reduce academic achievement and self-esteem and increase the likelihood of dropping out for children who switch and slow instruction for all students (Fiel 2013).

FAST helps participating parents believe in themselves and feel confident in their parenting (Ackley 2010, Crozier 2010). Family relationships function more smoothly and parents feel more supported than their non-participating peers (Crozier 2010). In some circumstances, FAST parents become more socially connected and more involved with their children’s schools (Gamoran 2012, Crozier 2010, Ackley 2010).

Anecdotally, parents report improved communication and more positive interaction following program participation. Parents also report that FAST’s play sessions and family meals are particularly useful (Knox 2011a).

Baby FAST may yield similar improvements to family functioning when directed at teen mothers. One study suggests it increases parents’ self-efficacy, improves parent-child bonds, reduces family stress and conflict, and increases social support (McDonald 2008). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm the effects of Baby FAST.

A sample program budget indicates that Kids FAST for elementary school students costs about $14,700 to serve 40 families (FAST).

Implementation

United States

FAST is used in 46 states and 12 foreign countries (FAST).

Wisconsin

FAST has been studied and improved through the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (UW WCER). FAST headquarters are based in Madison, Wisconsin (FAST).

Implementation Resources

FAST - Families and Schools Together Inc (FAST). Protecting hearts and minds. Accessed on February 5, 2016

Citations - Description

Crozier 2010 - Crozier M, Rokutani L, Russett JL, Godwin E, Banks GE. A multisite program evaluation of Families and Schools Together (FAST): Continued evidence of a successful multifamily community-based prevention program. School Community Journal. 2010;20(1):187-207. Accessed on December 8, 2015
FAST - Families and Schools Together Inc (FAST). Protecting hearts and minds. Accessed on February 5, 2016
YG-FAST - Youth.gov (YG), Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP). Families And Schools Together (FAST). Accessed on January 6, 2016

Citations - Evidence

Ackley 2010* - Ackley MK, Cullen PM. Strengthening families through community collaboration: Implementing the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program. Children & Schools. 2010;32(3):183-6. Accessed on November 20, 2015
Crozier 2010 - Crozier M, Rokutani L, Russett JL, Godwin E, Banks GE. A multisite program evaluation of Families and Schools Together (FAST): Continued evidence of a successful multifamily community-based prevention program. School Community Journal. 2010;20(1):187-207. Accessed on December 8, 2015
FAST - Families and Schools Together Inc (FAST). Protecting hearts and minds. Accessed on February 5, 2016
Fiel 2013* - Fiel JE, Haskins AR, Turley RNL. Reducing school mobility: A randomized trial of a relationship-building intervention. American Educational Research Journal.2013;50(6):1188-1218. Accessed on February 5, 2016
Gamoran 2012* - Gamoran A, Lopez-Turley RN, Turner A, Fish R. Differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic families in social capital and child development: First-year findings from an experimental study. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. 2012;30(1):97-112. Accessed on February 5, 2016
Knox 2011a* - Knox L, Guerra NG, Williams KR, Toro R. Preventing children’s aggression in immigrant Latino families: A mixed methods evaluation of the Families and Schools Together program. American Journal of Community Psychology. 2011;48(1-2):65-76. Accessed on March 10, 2016
McDonald 2008* - McDonald L, Conrad T, Fairtlough A, et al. An evaluation of a groupwork intervention for teenage mothers and their families. Child & Family Social Work. 2009;14(1):45-57. Accessed on February 29, 2016
SAMHSA-NREPP - SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). Accessed on April 12, 2017
YG-FAST - Youth.gov (YG), Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP). Families And Schools Together (FAST). Accessed on January 6, 2016

Citations - Implementation

FAST - Families and Schools Together Inc (FAST). Protecting hearts and minds. Accessed on February 5, 2016
UW WCER - Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER). Families and Schools Together (FAST) project: Building relationships. Accessed on November 9, 2015

Page Last Updated

October 9, 2014

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