Families and Schools Together® – Middle School Level

Mental Health Does Not Currently Meet Criteria

Families and Schools Together® (FAST®) – Middle School Level is a prevention and early intervention parent engagement program designed to serve families with youth in middle school. FAST – Middle School Level aims to strengthen parent-youth and family relationships, promote youth’s social and emotional development and school success, and build supportive connections between parents, schools, and communities.


FAST – Middle School Level consists of weekly youth group meetings and structured multi-family group sessions followed by monthly unstructured parent and youth review sessions. Youth group meetings are designed to foster relationships among youth and provide youth with practice making decisions, solving problems, and resolving conflicts. Each multi-family group session contains three components: Family Table Time with opening activities, Parent and Youth Peer-Group Time, and Family Table Time with closing activities. (1) During Family Table Time, families and FAST team members have a sit-down meal together and complete group activities designed to encourage sharing feelings and ideas and listening to each other. (2) During Parent and Youth Peer-Group Time, parents and youth meet separately. Youth participate in Youth Group, where they select topics to discuss with their parents during the next part of the session. Parents participate in one-on-one conversations with other parents (Buddy Time), followed by unstructured discussions about parenting (Parent Group) intended to develop supportive relationships among parents. After meeting separately, each parent-youth pair participates in One-to-One Time, which involves youth and their parents discussing the topic selected in Youth Group and reviewing positive feedback from the youth’s classroom teachers. (3) Family Table Time closes each session with family games, announcements, and a whole-group circle activity. Additionally, parents are asked to practice One-on-One Time with their youth in between group sessions and share positive feedback about their youth’s behavior with their youth’s classroom teachers.


After families graduate from the weekly multi-family group sessions, parents and youth continue to attend monthly FASTWORKS® Parent Groups and Youth Groups to review material and socialize with other parents and youth.

FAST – Middle School Level does not currently meet criteria to receive a rating because no studies of the program achieved a rating of moderate or high on design and execution.

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed: Mar 2022


The program or service description, target population, and program or service delivery and implementation information were informed by the following sources: the program or service manual, and the program or service developer’s website.

This information does not necessarily represent the views of the program or service developers. For more information on how this program or service was reviewed, visit the Review Process page or download the Handbook.

Target Population

FAST – Middle School Level is designed to serve families with youth ages 10–14. Additional family members, including siblings and grandparents, are invited to attend multi-family group sessions.


FAST – Middle School Level is delivered over 14 weekly youth group meetings and 10 weekly multi-family group sessions of 8–10 families. Youth attend four youth group meetings before multi-family group sessions begin. Youth group meeting length varies and can be delivered during school lunch periods or after school. Multi-family group sessions last 2.5 hours. Families must attend at least eight sessions to graduate. After graduating FAST, parents and youth can attend monthly FASTWORKS sessions. FASTWORKS sessions are typically offered for 24 months.

Location/Delivery Setting
Recommended Locations/Delivery Settings

FAST – Middle School Level is delivered in after-school settings or in community settings. Youth groups may meet at school during school hours. Typically, groups are made up of families whose youth are in the same classroom, grade level, or school.

Education, Certifications and Training

FAST – Middle School Level is initiated by a lead agency, typically a school or community-based organization, that is responsible for coordinating team members. It is delivered by at least six team members. The team includes one youth partner who is a graduate of the program or a new middle school student at the participating school; one youth advocate who is an adult; one parent partner who is a graduate of the program or has a child attending the school; one school partner, such as a classroom teacher, school psychologist, school administrator, or librarian; and two community partners with expertise in mental health, substance abuse, or other challenges families in the community may experience. Teams can also include a recreational coordinator to facilitate activities for siblings of participating youth. Teams must be representative of participating families in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, and language. FASTWORKS is led by parent and youth partners who have graduated from the program.

All team members participate in an initial 2-day training with a certified trainer. Following training, the trainer supports the team as they implement their first 10-week FAST cycle, including direct observation of three sessions. Following the 10-week cycle, the team participates in a final 6-hour training with the trainer.

FAST team members who wish to become certified FAST Trainers can participate in a 5-day training and complete a training internship over the course of an 8-week FAST multi-family group session. Trainers are required to re-certify every 3 years.

Program or Service Documentation
Book/Manual/Available documentation used for review

McDonald, L. (2019). FAST® team member handbook: Middle school level. Families and Schools Together, Inc.

Available languages

FAST – Middle School Level materials are available in English.

Other supporting materials

FAST – Middle School Level Overview

FAST Training Information

For More Information

Website: www.familiesandschools.org

Phone: (888) 629-2481

Email: answers@familiesandschools.org


Note: The details on Dosage; Location; Education, Certifications, and Training; Other Supporting Materials; and For More Information sections above are provided to website users for informational purposes only. This information is not exhaustive and may be subject to change.

Results of Search and Review Number of Studies Identified and Reviewed for Families and Schools Together® – Middle School Level
Identified in Search 1
Eligible for Review 1
Rated High 0
Rated Moderate 0
Rated Low 1
Reviewed Only for Risk of Harm 0
Sometimes study results are reported in more than one document, or a single document reports results from multiple studies. Studies are identified below by their Prevention Services Clearinghouse study identification numbers. To receive a rating of supported or well-supported, the favorable evidence for a program or service must have been obtained from research conducted in a usual care or practice setting.

Studies Rated Low

Study 12077

Knox, L., Guerra, N. G., Williams, K. R., & Toro, R. (2011). Preventing children's aggression in immigrant Latino families: A mixed methods evaluation of the Families and Schools Together program. American Journal of Community Psychology, 48(1-2), 65-76. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-010-9411-0

This study received a low rating because baseline equivalence of the intervention and comparison groups was necessary and not demonstrated.