Research shows that prolonged exposure to violence and trauma can seriously undermine a child's ability to learn, form relationships and focus appropriately in the classroom. Our Focusing On Children Under Stress (FOCUS) Program is designed to decrease the effects of a child's exposure to violence and trauma. FOCUS will help children achieve academically at their highest levels despite any traumatic circumstance(s) they may have endured.
FOCUS supports children exposed to violence and trauma through improved communication and collaboration between first responders (law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medical responders, etc), schools and community resources.
If a first responder encounters a child that may have been exposed to a traumatic event, that child's information is included in a FOCUS Notification that is sent out to Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency (SDEA). The SDEA Prevention/Education liaison will forward the notification to the designated school official as soon as possible.
A simple "FOCUS Notification" alerts the school that this child may have been exposed to a traumatic incident (i.e. domestic violence, child abuse, death in the family, witness to a crime, loss of home due to a house fire, etc.) and may exhibit or develop academic/behavioral problems. No specific details about the incident are given, just one simple request: To focus on the child and handle them with care.
A designated school official will receive the notification and alert the child's teacher. The teacher will observe the child's behavior/academic performance, and utilize trauma sensitive interventions as deemed appropriate. If the child exhibits any problems, the teacher will address the issue or refer the child to the school counselor.
For more information on the FOCUS California Program, please contact Vicki Bauman at vbauman [ahtsym] stancoe [dhotsym] org or (209) 238-1360.