THE FAMILY ADVOCACY AND SUPPORT TOOL (FAST)
The Family Advocacy and Support Tool (FAST) is the family version of the CANS and ANSA tools. The purpose of the FAST is to support effective interventions when the focus of those efforts are on entire families rather than single individuals. The most common use of the FAST is in efforts to address the needs of families who are at risk of child welfare involvement. Items identified as a ‘0’ are often strengths that can be used in strength-based planning. Items rated a ‘1’ should be monitored and preventive efforts might be indicated. Items rated a ‘2’ or ‘3’ are actionable and should be addressed in the intervention plan. The original version of the FAST, called the Multi-level Family Assessment, was developed in collaboration with Margaret Nickels, Ph.D. at the Juvenile Protection Agency in Chicago. Following its initial use in a family therapy program to prevent child abuse and neglect, this tool was further developed into the FAST in collaboration with representative of Family Support Organizations in New Jersey. Currently, the FAST is used in various applications in New York, Tennessee, and Illinois.
WHAT IS FAST?The FAST
is a communimetric tool, like the others. It is designed to maximize communication about the needs and strengths of families. The FAST includes ratings of the Family Together, each Caregiver, and all children and youth. Interventions in the family system can be directed at that system or to address the individual needs of family members or dyadic relationships within the family.
Unlike the CANS and ANSA, however, the FAST has only one action-level framework for its items.
0 No evidence of a need, this may be a strength
1 Watchful waiting/prevention
3 Immediate or intensive action (dangerous or disabling)