What Is Integrative Family and Systems Treatment (I-FAST)?

  • Integrated Family and Systems Treatment (I-FAST) is an evidence-supported family treatment model that can be applied to a wide range of child and adolescent mental health

  • I-FAST can be utilized on multiple levels of care including outpatient-in-office, case management, intensive in-home, and residential levels of care.

  • As a treatment model, I-FAST is organized around common factors that are present in all the evidence-based family treatment models.

  • The efficacy of I-FAST has been researched in four different studies involving eight different clinical sites in both rural and urban areas of Ohio. Data have been obtained that supports the use of I-FAST as in intensive in-home model, an office-based outpatient model and for residential care.

  • The purpose of I-FAST is to provide integrated family treatment to children and adolescents who exhibit a wide range of DSM diagnoses, including complex cases of children at risk for out of home placement.

  • As an integrative model, IFAST allows for the incorporation of intervention procedures from many treatment models into an overarching IFAST framework.

  • The integrative aspect of I-FAST allows for maximum flexibility and a treatment that can match and adapt to a wide range of client beliefs and types of symptoms. A unique treatment is organized for each case while adhering to the I-FAST treatment protocols.

  • I-FAST is an episode of care model. Treatment focuses on specific symptoms and problems that families identify as their main concerns. Treatment is administered in treatment episodes, which end when goals are met and can be resumed if problems reoccur.

The Effectiveness of I-FAST

Several Research Studies Have Found I-FAST To Be Effective

  • It reduces out of home placements of children and adolescents when used as an intensive-in-home model

  • When used in residential treatment settings evidence supports I-FAST reduces length of stay and readmissions

  • It is effective as an outpatient, in-office model applied to a wide range of child and adolescent mental health problems

  • It improves family functioning on multiple levels

  • It improves caregiver confidence at addressing and helping their own children with their behavioral mental health needs.

  • For more details on research supporting I-FAST, refer to the research page on this webpage


  • I-FAST is cost-effective. It was developed to provide a treatment model to be used by community mental health agencies in Ohio that is sustainable and affordable. We observed that existing evidence-based models were either prohibitively expensive or had too narrow of a focus to be realistically sustained in many community mental health settings.

  • I-FAST offers agencies a model supported by evidence, that is sustainable within normal mental health funding streams and can address a wide range of mental health problems, eliminating the need for agencies to have to sustain multiple evidence supported models.

  • I-FAST offers practitioners a way to learn and integrate intervention procedures and skills from a wide range of family therapy models and other models such as CBT, DBT, and EFT into an organized, overarching coherent framework. Practitioners can integrate their existing skills into I-FAST as well as learn a wide range of new skills from across models.

Agency Empowerment

  • Once an agency is certified to offer I-FAST, no additional, on-going costs are required. Agencies are free to schedule “booster” trainings, have on-going consultations from one of the I-FAST trainers, or have no additional training of any kind.

  • I-FAST offers agencies a training the trainer model. Once an agency has I-FAST certified supervisors, those supervisors can train new agency staff in the model, eliminating the need for additional training costs.

  • Once certified, agencies can choose to utilize I-FAST as they wish, to match their local needs. Agencies are free to use I-FAST on whatever level of care they wish, and offer it to whatever child and adolescent diagnoses they wish. Agencies are also free to decide length of stay, caseloads and staff credentials.

  • I-FAST services can be sustained “in the black” by billing fee for service.

  • I-FAST is currently an approved model that can be used in conjunction with Ohio IHBT services and as such can be paid for within the current Ohio bundled rate paid for IHBT.

Cost of Training

  • Several training options are available for both agencies and individual practitioners. For details refer to our section on training on this website.

  • For an agency to be fully certified in I-FAST and have permission to advertise as having I-FAST, the cost to train two supervisors, up to ten fully trained clinicians and to obtain full certification is $20,000 or less. Training duration to obtain full certification is one year.

  • Trainings are organized to have minimum disruptive impact on staff productivity

For more information see the second page of the brochure below especially regarding options for training in I-FAST