Project FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress), based at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is one of the only evidence-based programs designed to build resiliency skills in military families. It teaches families the skills they need to face the challenges of deployment and reintegration, to communicate and solve problems effectively, to set goals together and to create a shared family story. FOCUS was initiated by the Department of the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery to address concerns related to parental combat operational stress injuries and combat-related physical injuries by providing family resiliency services to military children and families at designated Navy and Marine Corps sites.
In 2009, FOCUS services were also made available to Army and Air Force families at designated installations. But it has only been available on military bases and to limited numbers of families. By working with the developers of the training, we arranged for our interns and other school district personnel to receive training on a limited, school-based, modified component of the FOCUS program. This will expand the capacity of schools to support the hundreds of children in the consortium schools dealing with a family member’s deployment. We also intend to evaluate this specific school- based version to test its effectiveness.