Families and Schools Together (F&ST)

Program snapshot

Age group: Early childhood (0-6); Late childhood (7-11)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Families; Newcomers, immigrants and/or refugees

Topic: Academic issues; Alcohol and/or drug use

Setting: Urban area; School-based; Social services setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

In Calgary, high stress and social isolation of families with children is becoming more commonplace. Parents work all day and arrive home late and tired, which limits their opportunity for meaningful contact with their children, to get involved in their schooling, and know their neighbours. This reality can prevent strong and positive parent-child bonding, the absence of which is a major contributing factor of stress and social isolation.

Families and Schools Together (F&ST) is a proven prevention program that, over two years, has strengthened the safety net for children through enhancing their relationships with their families, peers, teachers, school staff, and other members in their community.

Goals

The main goals of the Families and Schools Together program are to:

  • Improve family relationships and build stronger family bonds;
  • Promote children’s success in school;
  • Prevent substance abuse by children and their families;
  • Reduce the stress that parents and children experience in daily life; and
  • Increase parent involvement in their children’s school and in their community.

Clientele

The appropriate clientele for the Families and Schools Together program are marginalized children (in Grades K-4) and their families, disconnected from each other and their communities. These require the opportunity to bond through parent-led activities so that the children can succeed in school, avoid substance abuse and crime, and family ties can be strengthened. More than 50 percent of participants are immigrants and 13 per cent self-identify as Aboriginal.

Core Components

Each Families and Schools Together program starts with nine weekly sessions at the child’s school with the parents organising monthly family outings for up to two years afterward. Components of the program include the following:

  • Pre- and post-tests: Families are requested to complete pre-tests upon entry into F&ST and post-tests within a two week period of completing F&ST;
  • Internal protective factors that assist family members to identify warning signs of stress, isolation and poor mental health; and
  • Counselling, community outreach, volunteerism, and education.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: Partnerships with schools willing to host F&ST in the evenings and ability to adapt programming to suit different cultural needs.
  • Partnerships: Limited information on this topic.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The Families and Schools Together program was implemented in Calgary (Alberta) from 2010 to 2013. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on Families and Schools Together. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • The SROI ratio calculated for the FS&T program is 4.82:1 which indicates that over the course of three years, the overall social value of investment in the program is $4.82 for every dollar invested; and
  • Social value created as family units are strengthened and social ties increase, their access of more intensive services decreases for Family Court, Mental Health Services and in some cases, Child and Family Services.

References

Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Families and Schools Together (FS&T). Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/safe-communities-innovation-fund-pilot-project-executive-summaries 

For more information on this program, contact:

Patricia Jones
Telephone: (403) 205-5200
E-mail: patricia.jones@cfs-ab.org


Record Entry Date - 2018-02-22

Date modified: