Replication Team Training

FAST has been widely replicated. The first 10 FAST trainers were certified in 1989. Currently, there are more than 250 certified FAST trainers in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Trainers prepare collaborative teams to facilitate the multifamily program. McDonald's training and replication process has six distinct elements:

  • Standard FAST team trainer structure. It takes 1 year to become a certified FAST team trainer. Requirements include observing a multifamily session, completing a week of classes at the FAST National Training and Evaluation Center at Edgewood College in Madison, WI, and training a team under supervision. The founder of the program directly supervises the team trainer qualification process, which includes making three site visits to a new FAST site.

  • Restricted access to FAST program training materials. FAST program training is available only to local collaborative teams (rather than to individuals) that will implement FAST at sites with operational funds. Each team must include a parent partner, a school partner, and two mental health and substance abuse prevention partners from the community.

  • Program adaptability. FAST team trainers lead team exercises, including discussions about values, to build team cohesion. They also work with the team to adapt the FAST program to incorporate local challenges and unique contextual factors (e.g., cultural or geographical issues).

  • Uniform manuals and process checklists. Consistent documents enable team trainers to monitor the process and integrity of the team's implementation.

  • Technical assistance on three site visits. Certified team trainers visit each new site three times to observe the program directly and help the team adapt FAST to the needs of the site.

  • Required evaluation package. New sites must submit data before and after implementation and an outcome evaluation report using the FAST Evaluation Package of six standardized instruments.

Role of the Team Trainer

The certified FAST team trainer solves problems on location with the team that is facilitating the program and adapts the program to unique local needs and issues. As a result, the FAST program is responsive to local schools, communities, and cultural differences. Certified team trainers maintain a delicate balance between accommodating to local initiative and control and maintaining fidelity to the core FAST process to preserve the high predictability of the program's impact. Adaptation of the standard program to unique local site requirements is critical to successful replication and transportability of the program. Without a certified FAST trainer, sites cannot start a program.

Training Materials

FAST program workbook manuals for elementary schools, written in 1990 by McDonald and Billingham, were revised in 1991, 1992, and 1998. In 1997, with funding from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), two new program manuals for training and implementation were completed: one for the preschool program and one for the middle school program. A training videotape on the long-term impact of the FAST program was completed in 1997 based on the CSAP evaluation data. In these training materials, each step of the process is outlined and feedback is included from FAST teams in a variety of settings. The program curriculum has been refined since its development in 1990. Optional graduate credit is available through the FAST National Training and Evaluation Center Master's Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Edgewood College under McDonald's direction. The work required for qualification as a Certified Team Trainer is being integrated as best practices into Edgewood's undergraduate and graduate curriculums.

Training Costs

The complete FAST team (a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 partners) spends a total of 4 full workdays together in FAST training over a 4-month period. The trainer makes three direct observations of the team's implementation of the multifamily program. The cost of the FAST outcome evaluation and team training with three site visits by certified team trainers is $3,900, not including travel. Travel and lodging costs are assumed by the local site. The complex replication, training, and evaluation structure makes positive outcomes predictable for families, schools, communities, and funders.

Families and Schools Together: Building Relationships Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  November 1999