The FAST Program (Family Advocacy, Support, and Training) is a statewide parent and youth network that engages families in the planning, management, and evaluation of their child’s mental health treatment and service needs, including special educational requirements. FAST has five regional advocates, an attorney, and a statewide resource specialist and serves all 55 West Virginia counties.
How FAST Can Help
FAST Advocates can provide a diverse set of services, including:
- Working with families and school officials to develop individual education plans (IEPs).
- Facilitating discussions between schools and families about how to manage a child’s problem behaviors in a way that is fair and designed to keep the child in public school.
- Helping resolve legal concerns that directly impact a child’s academic success, including problems with accessing appropriate education services, issues of custody and adoption, and acquisition of benefits, transportation, and housing.
- Providing linkage and referrals to appropriate services.
- Assisting with transitions between schools and school districts.
- Identifying supports to prevent dropout, truancy, and disciplinary actions, and to encourage postsecondary education.
Young children and students (0-21 years) who live in West Virginia, have a mental health, co-occuring or co-existing diagnosis, and who are struggling or experiencing discrimination in school or early learning programs because of their mental health challenges are all eligible for FAST services. There are no income requirements for this program.
Please note: priority for services will be given to families participating in Safe at Home WV or children’s wraparound initiatives.
A FAST Client Story
Matt and Amber learned about the FAST Program by chance after someone from their community messaged them on Facebook. Their son, Asher, has autism, and they struggled with finding the right services and plan for his education on their own.
After their FAST advocate, Rhonda, joined the effort, things changed for the better. Matt and Amber finally felt like their son was making progress and feeling happier, both in an out of the classroom.