OJJDP
Shay Bilchik, Administrator November 1999

Family Strengthening Series Families and Schools Together: Building Relationships

Introduction

Overview of the Program

The FAST Curriculum

Risk and Protective Factors

Identifying Candidates for FAST

FAST in Diverse Settings

The Research-Based Process

Replication Team Training

State and National Replication

Evaluation Results

National Recognition

Conclusion

References

For Further Information

Acknowledgments

Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

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From the Administrator

Youth at risk of adolescent delinquency often come from stressed and socially isolated families. These children also frequently fail in school and may eventually drop out. This Bulletin profiles a program, Families and Schools Together (FAST), that brings at-risk children and their families together in multifamily groups to strengthen families and increase the likelihood that children will succeed at home, at school, and in the community.

Based on research and family therapy, FAST builds protective factors for children and increases parent involvement with the family, other parents, the school, and the community. In a typical case, the entire family of an 8-year-old male who exhibits problem behaviors at home and at school participates in the 8-week FAST program. After "graduating," families move on to 2 years of monthly meetings of a school-based group of FAST families, which provide a strong social network to fall back on in times of crisis.

Evaluations have shown that FAST has a statistically significant positive impact on children and families. Without intervention, the boy in the case described above would be a strong candidate for teenage delinquency and violence. Communities in search of a school-based approach to intervening with at-risk children and their families will find this Bulletin of great interest.

Shay Bilchik
Administrator


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NCJ 173423

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