Families and Schools Together (FAST) is a multifamily group intervention program that strengthens family relationships, community connections, and school connectedness to promote the full potential of children. The purpose of the program is to intervene early to help at-risk youth succeed in school, at home, and in the community and avoid delinquency, violence, substance abuse, and dropping out of school. FAST is implemented in three stages: active outreach to recruit parents, eight-week sessions of weekly group meetings, and two years of follow-up monthly parent-led meetings. In each 2.5-hour session, the FAST facilitator leads family bonding activities, parenting skills building, and parent-child play therapy.
Children that participate in FAST demonstrate reductions in problem behaviors, increases in academic performance, and improvements in family adaptability. Parents who participate become more engaged with their child’s school and better connected to other parents. Altogether, family cohesion increases and conflicts decrease.