Families and Schools Together

Engaging and empowering
Australian parents

What is FAST?

FAST is a family-strengthening program working with families and communities. Families partner with a local team, schools and community agencies so that children can grow up to succeed. Success is achieved through strengthening relationships between parents and children; between families; and with families, schools, and other community agencies.

3 Models: Baby, Kids, and Teen

8

weeks to...

Empower parents

Stronger family leadership, better handling of family stress.

Help Schools Succeed

Focussed classrooms, better parent engagement

Strengthen communities

Increased community interaction, added social capital

Change children's lives

Stronger parent-child bonds, improved behaviour at home and school

AUSTRALIAN SNAPSHOT

Over 500 Australian families have completed the pre- and post-evaluation of FAST. In 2016, the experiences of 31 families in four states were evaluated.

NSW

NSW

• Families reported a 45% increase in family cohesion
• Family conflict declined by 53%
• 80% of teachers reported improved involvement with parents

WA

WA

• Teachers report a 57% improvement of parent involvement in school
• Parents reported a 41% improvement in emotional support
• Parent-child relationships improved 33%

NT

NT

• 67% of families reported improved parent-chid relationships
• Parents reported 11% improvement in social relationships
• 83% of teachers noted an improved relationship with parents

TAS

TAS

• Family conflict was reduced by 22%
• Parents reported a 20% improvement in prosocial behaviour of their children
• Teachers reported a 22% improvement in their relationship with parents

PROVEN QUALITY

Evidence-based

FAST Australia is recognised by the Australian Institute of Family Studies as a Communities for Children Facilitating Partners Evidence-Based Program.

Sustainable

This process provides statistically significant data to measure, improve and sustain the program and its effects.

Internationally acclaimed

FAST was developed in 1988 in the USA. It is based on internationally peer-reviewed research and has been endorsed by the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Consistent results

Data shows consistent improvement in children’s behaviour, emotional well-being and academic performance.

Evaluated

A defining feature of FAST is a rigorous evaluation process. Parents and teachers complete questionnaires before and after the 8-week program. Measures are then taken of changes in social relationships, social support, parent involvement at school, family environment, parental self-efficacy, child strengths and difficulties.

Families - Relationships - Communities

FAST AUSTRALIA

The Families and Schools Together (FAST) program has operated in various countries around the world. The founder of FAST Dr. Lynn Mc Donald first delivered FAST in Wisconsin in 1988. FAST was introduced into Australia in the early 1990’s, and has seen 100’s of Australian families lives changed through FAST’s activities which aim to; empower parents , build supportive relationships, enhance family functioning, prevent child from experiencing school failure, prevent substance abuse by the child and family and to reduce stress that parents and children experience from daily life situations.

FAST delivery has been successful in the remotest of Indigenous communities in Australia through to schools and families in our capital cities. A defining feature of FAST is its rigorous evaluation process, which provides statistically significant data to measure progress, make continuous improvements, and sustain FAST into the future. Built on evidence-based practices and rigorously tested, the FAST parent empowerment program consistently produce statistically significant improvements in children’s behaviour, emotional well-being, and academic performance while building social capital among families, schools and communities.

STRUCTURE

FAST in Australia is currently overseen by an “executive” group as part of a partnership between three organisations, strategically located across the country. Each member has solid FAST experience, each having 10 years+ of FAST experience in a range of contexts.

Executive members

NameLocationOrganisation
Fiona LeePerth, Western AustraliaCLAN Midland
Mal GalbraithDarwin, Northern TerritoryFAST NT (N.T. Christian Schools)
Mark BoonstraHobart, TasmaniaImpact Communities

Currently these members have regular phone and occasional face to face meetings, with intent to address some important issues, and to address the re-branding of FAST in Australia.

How FAST Works

Team Recruitment

The team consists of:
Coordinator
Parent team members
Agency representatives
School representatives
Health representatives
Volunteers

Training

Two days
Includes Program, Recruitment, and FASTWORKS

Family Recruitment

Families are referred by the school or community organisation
Parent team members and other team members visit families
Evaluations are completed

8 Week Program

Families meet for 2.5 hours a week
Trainer visits at least week 1, 3 and 8

FASTWORKS

Consists of monthly family get togethers for two years
Includes at least one FAST element, e.g., One to One time

Review and Reflection

Team accreditation
Evaluation reflection
Future planning
Referral to community services

PROGRAM STRUCTURE

FAST parents enrol through home visits, outreach and open enrolment

After being shown the program content, parents who commit to FAST meet together weekly for 8 weeks

Each session lasts approximately 2.5 hours. Parents and kids constantly tell us they wish they could meet more often

FAST programs are typically held in primary school halls, libraries or community centres

Program cycles conclude with graduation ceremonies

After graduation, parents work together as a virtual community; and

Families continue to meet regularly in the two year follow-on to support each other while their children grow and learn

FAST TRAINING STRUCTURE

Phase 1 – Planning

Training days and planning sessions = 20 hours

Phase II – Do

Session preparation, home visits, outreach, 8 weekly FAST sessions and debriefs = 50 hours

Phase III – Reflection

Community based team reflection and planning day following the program = 6 hours

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