The UCLA DPBH provides a continuum of trauma-informed resilience enhancing curricula to support a population-level implementation of evidence-based and community-supported prevention practice across services and ecosystems to meet military-connected children and families where they live.
Delivery of FOCUS requires formal training in the model as well as ongoing model supervision through certification. The certification process consists of four components: FOCUS Introductory Training; Core Model Training, including six to eight post training modules; and the provision of family resilience training to 10 families under the supervision of a FOCUS Master Trainer. When these components are completed, the provider completes the certification application which is reviewed and approved by a FOCUS Master Trainer.
The FOCUS Introductory Training is a web-based curriculum that provides an overview of FOCUS history and services, and an introduction to foundational education on relevant family topics (e.g. child development, family dynamics).
FOCUS Core Model Training
The FOCUS Core Model Training provides detailed instruction begins with a the FOCUS for Families mode. Upon completion of the two-day family model training, providers are eligible for additional certification in the FOCUS adaptations, including the Family Resilience Training Program, Family Resilience Skill Building Groups, and outreach activities. Providers learn how to deliver the FOCUS suite of services with fidelity. The pedagogy used within the core model training is diverse and includes self-learning, didactic presentations, modeling, and role-plays. Independent thinking and problem-solving skills are emphasized. Subsequent Post Training calls utilize a curriculum designed to augment the core model training and provide additional targeted training for enhanced model implementation.
FOCUS for Families with Children and Teens
Consists of eight skill-building sessions specifically designed to help the entire family unit, including military families, wounded, ill, and injured Service Members and their families, stay strong and supportive of each other during stressful times or transitions, such as loss, divorce, medical trauma, and family member separation.
FOCUS for Couples and Intensive Retreat Model (Adaptation with Rush University Road Home Program)
Can be implemented directly with individual couples or within the retreat setting. This evidence based model has been shown to improve relationship satisfaction, cohesion, mutual care, and communication, through skill building in core skills in the context of the couple’s unique story.
FOCUS for Early Childhood (In-person or Virtual Home Visiting)
A skill-building program for parents and caregivers of young children, can be implemented as an in-person and virtual home visiting model. The program helps families to build secure attachments, supports caregiver reflective functioning, enhances positive parenting/co-parenting, provides developmental guidance and psychoeducation and develops key skills such as dyadic play and communication tools.
FOCUS-Wounded, Ill and Injured for Couples and Family Programs
An evidence-based model consisting of six to eight skill-building sessions designed to help Military and Veteran families strengthen family connections and enhance communication about illness, injury and traumatic stress reminders.
FOCUS Skills Groups - Children, Teens and Adults
Groups engage in nine interactive modules that help participants learn new skills to overcome common challenges. Five resilience skills are at the heart of these sessions: emotion regulation, communication, goal setting, problem solving, and managing stress, trauma and loss reminders
School-based FOCUS Resilience Skills for Elementary, Middle and High School Students
Support skill-building for school-age, middle school, and high school students. The curriculum consists of nine interactive sessions that help students learn new skills to overcome common challenges. Five core skills are at the heart of these sessions: emotion regulation, communication, goal setting, problem solving, and managing emotional stress, trauma, and loss reminders. Utilizing a strengths-based approach, FOCUS helps students learn to apply these skills to manage stressors in their lives.
Training Community Members, Peer Navigators, and Providers:
FOCUS Peer Resilience Skills Training
Provides peer navigators and other professionals with education and strategies for connecting with veteran family members and nurturing a professional relationship with them. The training also provides instruction on how to teach simple skill-based strategies in the areas of emotion regulation, problem-solving, and goal setting. This training is designed to improve veteran peers’ ability to build trust with veterans and their families while providing simple-to-use tools to foster strong family bonds and build social support.
FOCUS Community Educational Workshops
FOCUS workshops generally cover a specific topic, such as individual or unit-level stress management, developmental reactions to deployment, or other transitions. Presentations are tailored to address topics for any stage of deployment and are approximately 60 minutes long. Providers are trained in the core components and content of this service to include relevant psychoeducation topics for various audiences. They are the subject matter experts who provide education and skills to address group level needs.
Train the Trainer, Technical Support and Coaching
Master Trainers are available to support ongoing capacity building for the FOCUS model through a train the trainer model which includes coaching through online learning communities and virtual technical support. The Resilience Check-in is adaptable to organizations or specific populations to allow providers to provide relevant feedback, psychoeducation and identify goals for the families they serve.
FOCUS Resilience Check-In (Family Assessment and Feedback Tool)
The FOCUS Resilience Check-in is an innovative assessment platform created by the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health. It offers patient-centric, web-based behavioral health assessment screening and tracking, using psychometrically validated behavioral health measures. Standardized measures are strategically chosen by the UCLA team to assess for areas of family or couple strength and potential areas of growth. Parents and children complete family assessment with ease on a tablet computer or other web-enabled device, and Providers offer real-time feedback.
FOCUS On the Go! is an educational game app developed by the UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center that helps families manage when faced with common challenges. Parents, adolescents, and kids can play Bear Chill, Feeling Finder, Comic Creator, and Bear Necessities games to practice family skills, such as identifying emotions, solving problems, and improving communication. The most recent version of the application was developed as part of a collaboration between the UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center and UCLA Center for Child Anxiety Resilience Education and Support (CARES).
FOCUS World is an interactive, online educational tool that helps families become stronger in the face of challenges by providing both parents and kids a fun place to learn and practice important skills. It offers a variety of educational activities that families can view together. Parents can watch brief videos that show helpful ways parents can deal with common family challenges, such as: how to talk to their kids about their concerns when a parent is about to deploy, common challenges families face during reintegration, and how to help children cope during a parent’s absence. Parents can also download handouts that provide helpful education and activities for military families.
Recognizing Providers and Agencies
Access a list of certified providers and agencies implementing FOCUS.
Ongoing Research, Implementation and Adaptations
Division faculty have published articles on the efficacy, adaptation and implementation of FOCUS and related programming.
FOCUS highlighted in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Consensus Study Reports
- Strengthening the Military Family Readiness System for a Changing American Society (2019)
- Preventing Psychological Disorders in Service Members and Their Families: An Assessment of Programs (2014)
UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health Partner Organizations
Through ongoing partnerships with local, state, and national organizations the UCLA DPBH provides in-person and on-line education to state and national communities regarding military and veteran cultural competency, strategies for enhancing military family resilience, and key resources for military/veteran families. We have developed a robust on-line learning center, and provide curriculum development and training roll-outs for community providers and service agencies:
- LA County Department of Mental Health
- Star Behavioral Health Providers-California
- California National Guard Operation READY Families
- California National Guard Joint Service Behavioral Health
- Strategies and the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention
- University of Southern California
- SAMHSA National Child Traumatic Stress Network Trainings
- Kingston Military Family Resource Center - Canadian Armed Forces
- Los Angeles Unified School District
- Clear Path for Veterans, Syracuse, NY
- Sepulveda VA Women’s Clinic
- Emory University
- Rush University Road Home Program
- UCLA Pritkzer Center for Strengthening Children and Families
- UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
- UCLA Center for Child Anxiety Resilience Education and Support (CARES)
- UCLA/VA Veteran Family Wellness Center
- Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University
- Military Child Education Coalition
- National Military Family Association