Founded in 1988 by scientific researcher and Professor of Social Work, Dr. Lynn McDonald, FAST® is a prevention and early intervention program that applies published research to strengthen families and improve child well-being. In hundreds of sites around the world as well as through several large randomized controlled trials (RCTs), FAST has been shown to:

  • Improve children’s behavior, emotional well-being and academic performance.
  • Strengthen families and increase parent empowerment.
  • Improve education and help schools succeed.
  • Build social capital.

FAST consistently achieves these positive outcomes because the program utilizes evidence-based practices derived from social, behavioral and physiological science. Each process and activity is designed to respect FAST participants while adhering to the core research-based structure.

A FAST parent and his son laugh while doing the scribbles activityTheoretical Foundations

Over 25 years ago, FAST was one of the first prevention and early intervention programs to develop practical applications for adult and children’s mental health research findings. Today, FAST continues to evolve and improve by integrating new scientific findings into the program structure. The program’s theoretical foundations include:

  • Social ecology of child development
  • Family stress theory
  • Family systems theory
  • Parent empowerment
  • Community development
  • Neuroscience and brain development
  • Social capital
  • Risk and resiliency

Learn more about the theoretical foundations of FAST here.

Randomized Control Trials and Evaluations

Numerous studies, including several large randomized control trials (RCT’s) have verified that FAST produces positive outcomes for the students and families who experience the program. In addition, extensive pre- and post-survey evaluation occurs with every 8-week FAST Cycle to assess the program’s impact and continually improve its effectiveness.

Learn more about randomized control trials involving FAST here.