UW-Madison - Department of Counseling Psychology - People - Faculty Research Teams - Dr Valdez's Research Teams - FAST

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Social Capital

Research Home | Fortalezas Familiares | Keeping Families Strong

Families and Schools Together Description

The Social Capital study was funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD, PI: Gamoran) to examine the causal mechanisms of social capital on children's educational and social and emotional outcomes in elementary school. The sample consisted of 3,000 predominantly Latino children in Texas and Arizona entering the first grade, and their parents. Children were enrolled in 52 schools, half of which were assigned randomly to an intervention, Families and Schools Together (FAST), and to a control group. FAST was developed by Lynn McDonald and selected for its ample evidence base related to building parents' social ties with other parents, schools, and children.

Families and Schools Together (FAST) is a community-based participatory research study that examines the effects of social capital on children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. FAST facilitates relationships between the parents, school and community in a effort to strengthen the student’s academic and social performance.  Consisting of an 8 week program consisting of family meals, support groups and play therapy, FAST allows for low-income elementary students to increase their social capital. 

Experiential learning allows for the participants to be engaged in the research-based activities that foster community support. Its components include outreach to recruit families, weekly support meetings to provide a supportive environment for 5 to 25 families and FASTWORKS to help achieve community goals.  Starting with implentation in Madison, WI, it has now spread across the world.  Dr. Valdez is currently researching the effects of FAST with the Latino populations of San Antonio, TX, and Phoeniz, AZ. Learn more about the FAST program.


Valdez, C. R., Padilla, B., & Lewis Valentine, J.  (in press). Consequences of Arizona’s immigration policy on social capital among Mexican mothers with unauthorized immigration status. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences.

Valdez, C. R., Shewakramani, V., Goldberg, S., & Padilla, B. (in press). Parenting influences on Latino children’s social competence in the first grade: Parental depression and parent involvement at home and school. Child Psychiatry and Human Development.

Valdez, C. R., Lewis Valentine, J., & Padilla, B. (in press). “Why We Stay”: Immigrants’ motivations for remaining in communities impacted by anti-immigration policy. Special Issue on Immigration, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Valdez, C. R., Mills, M., Bohlig, A., & Kaplan, D. (2013). The role of parental language acculturation in the formation of social capital: Differential effects on high-risk children. Child Psychiatry and Human
, 44 (2), 334-350.

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