Model Family Programs for Delinquency Prevention
Rating * Model Target * 3-14 Speciality * Comprehensive
Program * Families and Schools Together (FAST) Program
Description *

  FAST is a collaborative early intervention prevention multi-family program for pre-school, elementary and middle school youth ages 3-14, who are at-risk for alcohol and other drug abuse, school failure, and juvenile delinquency. FAST was first started for elementary-aged children in 1988 by Dr. Lynn McDonald at Family Service of Madison, Wisconsin. FAST training and evaluation is now coordinated through the FAST National Training and Evaluation Center at Edgewood College, Madison, Wisconsin, and dissemination is continued through two state governements (Wisconisn and California) and two non-profit, national organizations (Family Service America and Communitites In Schools). FAST is now being implemented in over 450 schools in 31 states and five countries. Recognition in FAST as a model program include the White House Conference on School Safety, (October 15, 1998), Office of National Drug Control Policy, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Harvard University, United Way of America, and the Family Resource Coalition.

FAST develops a structure whereby both the youth and his/her parents have a respected voice and a valued role in the collaborative prevention process. FAST develops separate support networks for the youth and for their parents, using a multi-family format and brings the parent and youth together for communicative encounters. The program builds multiple levels of protective factors against school failure, violence, delinquency, and substance abuse. Whole families participate in 8 or 9 weekly sessions of carefully orchestrated, fun, research based, interactive, family activities. Following the sessions, they participate for two years in monthly family self-help meetings called FASTWORKS.

Results after 8 or 10 weeks show statistically significant improvements in classroom behaviors and at home behaviors (using standardized instruments with established validity and reliability), specifically conduct disorder, anxiety, and attention span, and increases in family closeness and communication, as well as reduced family conflict. After six months, these gains are maintained and there is increased parent involvement in school, increased parent self-sufficiency, and decreased social isolation. FAST improves student behavior and supports family strength through a well-defined collaboration between parents, the school, a local mental health agency, a local provider of substance abuse prevention and intervention services, a youth advocate, and a youth partner.

    Contact * Lynn McDonald, Ph.D. 
    Address* 11770 West Lake Park Drive 
        Milwaukee, WI  53224
    Phone * 800 221-3726
    Email  * 
    Dept. of Health Promotion and Education

Funded by - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention