What is FAST®?

FAST is a prevention/early intervention program and a catalyst for positive change in the lives of children and their parents. Built on a strong platform of developmental science, FAST is designed to make a significant, long-lasting impact on child and family behaviors, so parents and kids make better decisions in school and in life. Learn more


After families graduate from the initial 8-week FAST Cycle, they transition to the 2-year program of FASTWORKS monthly meetings. Organized and led by FAST Parent Graduates, these meetings further empower parents to strengthen their families, act as their child’s advocate, and become leaders in their community and school. Learn more

What is the difference between Families & Schools Together, Inc.® and FAST®?

Families & Schools Together, Inc. is the non-profit organization whose mission is the development and worldwide dissemination of FAST, the internationally acclaimed parent engagement program.

FAST was created in 1988 by scientific researcher and Professor of Social Work Dr. Lynn McDonald, FAST helps children thrive by building stronger, more supportive relationships at home. Built on evidence-based practices and rigorously tested, FAST consistently produces statistically significant improvements in children’s behavior, emotional well-being, and academic performance while building social capital among families, schools and communities.

What kinds of activities can I expect to do at FAST®?

Every weekly FAST Session brings together multiple families to participate in group activities, one-on-one parent/child time and a parents’ group gathering. All FAST Activities are based on established research; in addition,they are educational, fun and emotionally rewarding for all participants. Every session also includes a family meal and a gift basket drawing. Learn more about the program structure here. 

What positive outcomes can I expect from FAST®?

At hundreds of sites involving thousands of families, FAST has been shown to:

  • improve children’s behavior and academic performance;
  • strengthen families and empower parents;
  • help schools succeed by increasing parent engagement and improving learning climate; and
  • increase social capital by building positive relationships between parents, families and schools.

Learn more about the statistically significant positive outcomes of FAST.

How can I feel confident that FAST® will work in my school?

The FAST Program has been delivering consistent positive outcomes across ethnicity, culture, language, and socio-economic situations in rural and urban settings for over 25 years. FAST is proven to lead to fewer problem behaviors, increased parental school involvement, and more positive interactions between parents and teachers. Teachers report that FAST improves children’s academic performance, attendance and attitude toward school.

FAST has one of the highest retention rates (80%) among early intervention parenting skills programs – especially among low-income, stressed and isolated parents. Additionally, FAST Teams reflect the local culture, ethnicity, language, gender balance and social class of the families served. Learn more about how FAST works.

How do I get FAST® started in my school or community?

You can turn to Families & Schools Together, Inc. for the expertise and support to build a FAST Program that’s scientifically proven to help children, families and communities thrive. Having established thousands of programs in 20 countries around the world, we’ve developed a straightforward process to help you launch FAST efficiently.

Visit our Get Started page for more information and contact Families & Schools Together, Inc. with any questions you may have about program implementation.

Can FAST® be adapted for different ethnicities, cultures, languages or socio-economic classes?

Yes! FAST can and should be adapted to suit program participants. The program comprises 40% core activities that must be maintained;  60% of the content is readily adaptable to meet the needs and priorities of the local culture.

Is FAST® evaluated?

Yes, every participating family agrees to provide us with confidential pre- and post-program surveys as part of the engagement process, FAST Team Members provide evaluations for quality assurance and efficacy.

Our surveys are turned into Evaluation Reports for FAST Teams, sites and funders to show evidence of outcomes (return on investment). Our reports show statistically significant changes in child and family behaviors. For more information, visit our Evaluations page.

Is FAST® evidence-based?

Yes. FAST applies published research and utilizes evidence-based practices derived from social, behavioral and physiological science to achieve positive and consistent outcomes. Every component in our program is researched and based on purposive, published works.  When it comes to research and evidence, we have been meticulous in providing a rigorously vetted program. Learn more

Are there any randomized control trials (RCTs) involving FAST®?

Numerous studies, including several randomized control trials, have verified that FAST produces positive outcomes for the children and families who experience the program. Learn more about the randomized control trials involving FAST here.

What is offered at a FAST® Training of Trainers?

A FAST Training of Trainers develops FAST Interns and re-certify Certified FAST Trainers. Attendees will get a refresher and updates on FAST, hear existing and new research, have a chance to network with other Trainers and Interns, and develop new skills. FAST works by using principles of experiential learning (not lecturing) that is proven to develop healthy behaviors, build social support, and foster a nurturing environment. Attendees will learn how to model this type of teaching for their Teams, while at the Training of Trainers, in order for Teams to learn to model it for the families who attend FAST.