F.O.C.U.S Empowerment Group (Families Offering Children Unified Support) is a 501(c)(3) Family-Run organization. In 2008 we had 20 family members of children with mental health needs identify peer support, for both caregiver and youth, as a practice they felt was needed to provide a safe, supportive, caring and accepting environment they desired for their families. They identified goals to increase knowledge of disorders and effective treatment, reduced caregiver strain and isolation, increase the ability to effectively advocate for their children, improve satisfaction with family life, and improve their children’s ability to function at home, school and community.
The information we received from families and professionals helped us develop the FOCUS Empowerment Group Model. For more than twenty years, peer-to-peer supports have been regarded as one of the most powerful and motivational tools to help families overcome the challenges of raising and supporting children with emotional, mental and behavioral disorders. Despite this fact, the current mental health system continues to focus on high cost services as opposed to funding low cost alternative services such as peer-to-peer family supports. FOCUS has for the past six years has been successful in supporting families and motivating them to support other families.
At this time of year — and all year long — I think about all that you do to improve the health and lives of people from coast to coast. Thank you for your steadfast and inspiring work, and for sharing with us the recipe for healthy communities. Happy holidays… from our kitchen to yours.
Please share this ‘recipe card’ with your stakeholders to demonstrate how vital your services are to the community. Click here to post this directly to your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages, or print it to share in hardcopy (to add to your recipe book, of course).