The UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health trains clinical, non-clinical and peer professionals who work with individuals and families, including military families.

A Population Health Approach to Family Well-being and Resilience

FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) is a resilience enhancing program for groups, families, and couples. The FOCUS team provides a suite of trauma-informed, family-centered services including real-time assessment, personalized education, skills development, and family narrative tools to enhance adult, child and family well-being over time. FOCUS uses a population health framework to support family well-being and resilience.  

Figure: Continuum of coordinated support within the Military Family Readiness System. 
SOURCE: Adapted from National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (2016, p. 180).

About FOCUS

The FOCUS intervention is grounded in developmental and preventive intervention research that identifies the mutual influences among individuals and relationships within families, and between families and broader social contexts.  As a trauma-informed intervention, FOCUS has been designed to mitigate stress and enhance resilience in families and couples facing adversity.  Using a community-participatory approach, the FOCUS intervention development team initially adapted existing evidence-based interventions for military-connected families to improve family functioning, parenting, and adult and child outcomes. It has been implemented using a population health model as a suite of services from universal to selective and indicated prevention across ecosystems to reach military-connected families where they live, work and play; including through virtual platforms.

To promote implementation of FOCUS with fidelity and to support its ongoing customization to meet the evolving circumstances of all families, an adaptive approach is used to deliver the FOCUS core elements. Ongoing quality improvement and program evaluation have consistently demonstrated positive impact on adults and child well-being over time, as well as on parenting, family functioning, and couples’ relationship outcomes aligned with military family readiness.

Core Elements of FOCUS:

  1. FOCUS Resilience Check-in. This standardized psychological health and family functioning assessment utilizes an integrated web-based survey and feedback platform. Real-time results are used to tailor psychoeducation and customize skill building to guide program delivery and make timely referrals.  The Check-in is completed by all family members at intake, upon program completion and periodically for one year. 
  2. Customized psychoeducation. Education is provided based on individual and family specific strengths and needs. Using a customized approach, FOCUS providers educate families on the impact of adversity and trauma for children and families, guidance about child development and support for navigating systems of care.
  3. Resilience skill development. Learning and practicing skills including emotion regulation, problem solving, communication, goal setting, and managing separation, trauma, and loss reminders to enhance individual and family resilience processes.
  4. A family narrative timeline. Adults and children develop individual and family narratives to understand shared key family transitions like deployments, divorce, moves or injuries/illness. This communication activity facilitates development of shared understanding, perspective taking and meaning-making particularly important in the context of adversity. 

Implementing FOCUS

To meet the needs of all types of families, FOCUS provides a range of programs and delivery platforms (in person and telehealth):

  • FOCUS for Families with Children and Teens
  • FOCUS for Couples
  • FOCUS for Early Childhood (In person or Virtual Home Visiting)
  • FOCUS-Wounded, Ill and Injured for both Couples and Family Programs
  • School-based FOCUS Resilience Skills for Elementary, Middle, and High School Students
  • FOCUS Skills Groups for Parents, Couples, Teens, and Children
  • Resilience Skills for Peer Navigators and Non-Clinical Providers
  • FOCUS On the Go! and FOCUS World 

Training in FOCUS is available for Community Providers and Providers Working with Military-Connected Families