Pat Davenport, CEO
FAST National Training and Evaluation Center
2801 International Lane, Suite 105
Madison, WI 53704
(608) 663-2382 Fax (608) 663-2336
FAST is a collaborative parent-professional partnership, which builds protective factors
using a multi-faily gorup process for pre-school, elementary and middle school youth, ages
3-14, to reduce risk for alcohol and other drug abuse, school failure, and juvenile delinquency.
In 1988 while at Family Service of Madison, Wisconsin, Dr. Lynn Mcdonald developed FAST based on family therapy
and family stress theory. FAST replication, training, and quality assurance structures are now coordinated through the
FAST National Training and Evaluation Center in Wisconsin.
FAST is now being implemented in over 600 schools in 40 states and five countries.
Recognition of FAST as a Model 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 and
Ford Foundation Innovation in State Government, Kraft Food Corporation, DeWitt Wallace
Readers Digest Foundation, United Way of America, Family Resource Coalition, and the
Harvard School of Public Health.
FAST develops a structure whereby both the youth and his/her parent(s) 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 strengthens relationships at multiple levels of the child's
social ecology. Ten to 30 whole families participate together in carefully orchestrated, research-based, interactive,
fun family activities. Following the graduation ceremony after 8-10 weeks, FAST parents run their own
follow up multi-family meetings for two years with support to maintain the social networks and
the experiential learning.
Using standardized mental health instruments with established validity and reliability, site
evaluation reports show statistically significant improvements in classroom behaviors and at home
behaviors (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. In four separately conducted, multi-year, randomized trials, the Achenback
aggression scale showed statisticaly significant defferences between FAST and control children a t1 year or \
2 years. 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.
The comprehensive services FAST offers include a) home visits, b) thirty 2 ½ hour multi-family
sessions facilitated by a parent-professional team delivered over a two year period, and c)
appropriate referrals to community agencies. Included in the costs are meals for each family
member, supplies for program activities, transportation, childcare, a basket of lottery prizes
worth $30 for each participating family, and graduation festivities and certificates. Costs vary
enormously depending on the creative repositioning of pre-existing staff to do effective
multi-family outreach and engagement strategies with under involved families, which impact positively
on child, family and community well being. Costs also vary by size of the 8 week multi-family
cycle: size can range from five families (a minimum of 5 families must graduate to become a
Certified FAST program) to 24 families. If you graduate 10 families, the cost per family (without
repositioning) is approximately $1,200. The cost of an 8 week cycle is about $11,000. In
contrast, with repositioning of staff, the program supplies, meals, transportation, childcare,
lottery, are $200 per family (total cost $2,000). Schools are recommended to run three cycles
per academic year, with monthly FASTWORKS.
The program requires four days of team training instruction spread over a four month period.
The four days consists of two days in a workshop, three site visits, and one review day. One
certified trainer is needed per team (a team must consist of at least four people but not more than
ten). Training workshops can be for one or more teams. Training is $3,900 persite; the outcome evalutaion
is $1000 and includes questionnaires, data analysis, and a site report, as
well as a process evaluation conducted while observing the program implementation during the
three site visits. Travel costs are separate. Follow-up training or consultation is not required but