Community Psychology

In Pursuit of Liberation and Well-Being

by Geoffrey Nelson and Isaac Prilleltensky

Chapter 4: Ecology, Prevention, and Promotion

Box 4.a

The Fast Track Program: Universal and Indicated Prevention


Fast Track is a large-scale, multi-site, multi-component, long-term program that is designed to prevent antisocial behaviour in children (Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group, 2000). The program includes a universal social problem-solving and social skills training curriculum that is implemented 2-3 times per week by Gr. 1-5 classroom teachers who were trained and supported by Fast Track staff. A total of 54 schools with over 370 classrooms from four different sites in the U.S. (selected on the basis of above average crime rates) were randomly assigned to the intervention or a control condition. Further program activities for the period from Gr. 5-10 focussed on the transition to middle school and youth involvement in positive community activities and relationships. A multi-stage screening procedure was used to identify behaviourally disruptive children in kindergarten. The indicated program components that were provided to these children and their parents included family group sessions that focussed on developing positive relationships between families and schools, teaching effective discipline and communication skills for parents, child social skills training groups (which were held while parents met with project staff), home visitation and individualized support for parents, academic tutoring to promote reading skills, and peer-pairing sessions in which the children were paired with classroom peers to promote their skills in making friends. The initial results of the evaluation show positive effects for both the universal and indicated interventions. The universal intervention led to low levels of aggression and positive classroom atmospheres, while both parents and teachers reported improvements in children's social, emotional, and academic skills, improved parenting skills and relationships with the schools, and reductions in conduct problems and special education use.

Vermont Conference Series on Primary Prevention

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