About The Project
Within the Hillsborough County school system, the school case management program, Family and School Support Teams (FASST), has been in operation since the early 1990s, providing school and in-home services for at-risk Hillsborough County School District children and their families. FASST promotes academic and developmental achievement in youth by facilitating family involvement in school and connecting families with appropriate community resources after receiving referrals from the schools. The team involves professionals and paraprofessionals from the school system, mental health providers and other formal and informal agencies in the creation and implementation of a service plan for children and their families. The informal resources upon which a family relies during the course of their daily lives are identified as strengths. Informal resources are extended family members, friends, neighbors, clergy or other religious leaders, and other community residents who provide families support without formal compensation or pay. The RAICES model, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and identified as a promising practice by the federal government, helps to make needed modification of the FASST program through the development of a more culturally competent method using community helpers, known as promotoras, who link Latino families with FASST and schools. Once the larger Family and School Support Team is assembled, the team meets to develop (with the family taking a leading role) a Family Plan. Once the plan has been drafted, the team meets regularly (as agreed to by the team) to address the goals of the plan and work with the family to access needed services. Typically, FASST will work with a student and family for 6 months to a year. If a student and family move to another part of Hillsborough County during their involvement with FASST, services will follow them to ensure completion of the family plan. Home and school visits may be conducted by all members of the team and are scheduled around parents' needs.