Families and Schools Together (FAST)
Families and Schools Together (FAST) is a multifamily group intervention designed to build relationships between families, schools, and communities to increase well-being among elementary school children. The program's objectives are to enhance family functioning, prevent school failure, prevent substance misuse by the children and other family members, and reduce the stress that children and parents experience in daily situations. Participants in the multifamily group work together to enhance protective factors for children, including parent-child bonding, parent involvement in schools, parent networks, family communication, parental authority, and social capital, with the aim of reducing the children's anxiety and aggression and increasing their social skills and attention spans.
FAST includes three components: outreach to parents, eight weekly multifamily group sessions, and ongoing monthly group reunions for up to 24 months to support parents as the primary prevention agents for their children. Collaborative teams of parents/caregivers, professionals (e.g., substance abuse or mental health professionals), and school personnel facilitate the groups, which meet at the school at the end of the school day. With each cycle of FAST implementation, 30 to 50 students in one grade level and their families can participate.
Although versions of FAST have been developed for families with children of all ages (babies through teens), the research reviewed for this summary included only elementary school children.