Families And Schools Together (FAST)

An Evidence-Based Practice


Families And Schools Together (FAST) is a multifamily group intervention program designed to build protective factors for children (ages 4 to 12), to empower parents to be the primary prevention agents for their own children, and to build supportive parent-to-parent groups. Developed in 1988, FAST has been implemented in more than 800 schools in 45 States and five countries. It is based on research in several areas: social ecology of child development; child psychiatry; family stress; family systems; social support; family therapy; parent-led play therapy; group work; stress, isolation, and poverty; and adult education and community development. Using the existing strengths of families, schools, and communities in creative partnerships, FAST offers youth structured opportunities for involvement in repeated relationship-building interactions with the primary caretaking parent, other family members, other families, peers, school representatives, and community representatives.

Goal / Mission

The overall goal of the FAST program is to intervene early to help at-risk youth succeed in the community, at home, and in school and thus avoid problems such as adolescent delinquency, violence, addiction, and dropping out of school.

Results / Accomplishments

Four randomized controlled trials (RCT) of the FAST program have been completed. All four studies used widely recognized outcome measures of child behavior, with established reliability and validity--the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)--which include subscales for social skills, aggression, and academic performance. The results of the first RCT showed that 1 year after the intervention, children in the FAST treatment group showed significantly more positive scores on social skills (SSRS) than control group children, as rated by parents, and significantly lower scores than children in the control group on the CBCL subscale for externalizing (aggressive) behaviors, as reported by parents. Parent involvement and volunteering were also significantly higher among FAST parents than control group parents after 1 year.

The results of the second RCT showed statistically significant differences at 1-year follow-up on the CBCL and SSRS. FAST participants were favored over control group participants in assessments by teachers blind to experimental condition, regarding classroom behavior and academic performance, and parents indicated that FAST youths were much less withdrawn than the control youths were.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Carol Goedken
Families and Schools Together, Inc.
2801 International Lane, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53704
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
Social Environment / Family Structure
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Wisconsin Center for Education Research
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model Programs Guide (MPG)
Date of publication
For more details
Target Audience