Save Philly FAST 2016

on 25 April 2016

April 15, 2016

The Honorable James Kenney
Office of the Mayor
City Hall, Office 215
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Dear Mayor Kenney: 

Turning Points for Children builds stronger families in Philadelphia with a family engagement program called Families and Schools Together (“FAST”). Now is the time to increase support of this program so Philadelphia schools can continue to benefit from this program. 

Ms. Lynette Barnes, a FAST Participant says, “the FAST program benefited my family because I got to spend time with my grandson. He began to look forward to that once a week time with his family. His attitude changed about school. His grades and his behavior improved. I’ve seen this in lots of the schools. Even now people come up to me and ask me why FAST isn’t in their schools anymore.”

Turning Points has been providing preventive and supportive services to children and families in Philadelphia for over 130 years.  Turning Points understands the goals of the DHS are to provide and promote safety, permanency, and well-being for children and youth at risk of abuse, neglect and delinquency.  The FAST program is an essential part of the continuum of services that directly affect DHS’s ability to meet the objectives of Improving Outcomes for Children.

FAST is an evidenced-based program that prevents substance abuse and increases positive outcomes for school children and their families. 

• Children Maintained safely in their own homes and communities

  • FAST fosters better parent/child relationships  
  • FAST decreases family conflict by nearly 20%
  • FAST Parent Graduates are better able to care for and nurture their child
  • FAST Parent Graduates feel that their family is more cohesive 

• Improved child, youth and family functioning

  • FAST children have fewer emotional symptoms and behavior problems 
  • FAST families have better knowledge of the impact and management of drug and alcohol abuse
  • FAST children had a 63% decrease in suspensions 

In addition to supporting DHS objectives, FAST also improves school climate and parental engagement in the schools, improving student school success.  The FAST program increases family functioning, decreases the chances that the target child will experience school failure, reduces substance use by the child and the child’s family, and reduces the stress that parents and children experience from daily life situations like poverty and violence.

FAST is an effective truancy intervention tool.  FAST has been shown to improve school attendance by involving parents in school activities: FAST children had a 63% decrease in suspensions. FAST build community within a school and helps parents gain support from other parents in the school and the community. Students get excited about participating in school-based activities. 

Principal Xiomara Carrino of Luiz Munzo Marin Elementary School says, “FAST improves school climate by building connections to the school, becoming empowered with their child’s education through increased communication with teachers and staff… we feel blessed to have it at Marin.”

Please join me in visiting any of our FAST schools so you can see the program in action. I will be contacting your office to find a time that is convenient for you. I am happy to discuss with you how this program benefits Philadelphia children and schools. 

Sincerely,

Michael Vogel
Chief Executive Officer
Turning Points for Children
 
CC: Jessica Shapiro,  Acting Commissioner Department of Human Services
Gary Williams, Deputy Commissioner, Children and Youth, Department of Human Services
Arthur Evans, Commissioner Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services
Diane Castelbuono, Assistant Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education
Nina Ahmad, Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement
Michael DiBernadinis, Managing Director, City of Philadelphia
William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D. , Superintendent, The School District of Philadelphia
City Council Members: Darrell Clark, Bobby Henon, Jannie Blackwell, Kenyatta Johnson, 
Curtis Jones, Jr., Cindy Bass, Cherelle Parker, Brian O’Neill, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Mark Squilla, 
Blondell Reynolds Brown, Allan Domb, Derek Green, William K. Greenlee, Helen Gym, David Oh, Al Taubenberger