A look at the first 30 years of Focus on the Family

"For the past 30 years, for every stage of family life, Focus on the Family has been there." 

– Jim Daly, president and CEO

  • 2008

    November

    Focus launches our community effort called Wait No More® to raise awareness of and recruit families for kids in foster care; the program will go on to receive national recognition from Congressional subcommittee, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and others.
  • 2007

    March

    Podcasts of Focus on the Family broadcasts launched March 26 – 30th Anniversary of Focus on the Family.
  • 2006

    February

    Focus on the Family broadcast named "best radio talk show" by National Religious Broadcasters

    March

    Focus announces the 200th placement of ultrasound services through the Option Ultrasound™ program

    November

    Cry of the Orphan™ Initiative is launched with the goal of encouraging adoption

  • 2005

    January

    Focus on the Family joins the Tsunami relief effort.

    February

    Jim Daly becomes president of Focus on the Family Option Ultrasound™ debuts with placement of services in Clinton, Iowa.

    June

    \Plugged In Web site reaches one million visitors monthly.

    August

    Focus on the Family launches TrueU.org, a Web site for college students.

    September

    Focus on the Family joins relief effort for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
  • 2004

    June

    Focus releases Last Chance Detectives radio series for children

    October

    Focus on the Family-produced radio programs exceed 5,000 stations & 155 countries with an estimated global audience of 220 million.
  • 2003

    January

    Focus on Your Child newsletter, audio journal and Web site launch to provide parents with age-specific resources.

    May

    Don Hodel becomes president of Focus on the Family, Dr. Dobson becomes Chairman of the Board.
  • 2002

    November

    Focus on the Family Ireland opens.
  • 2001

    January

    National Bike Ride for the Family begins; ends with the Colorado ride in conjunction with Focus' 25th Anniversary in July 2002.

    August

    Focus on the Family Egypt opens.

    December

    Focus on the Family Singapore opens.
  • 2000

    April

    One millionth visitor welcomed to Focus on the Family headquarters and welcome center.
  • 1999

    January

    Focus on the Family New Zealand opens.
  • 1998

    September

    Boundless webzine for college students debuts Focus on the Family Costa Rica opens.
  • 1997

    March

    Focus on the Family celebrates 20th anniversary.

    July

    Official Focus on the Family Web site is launched.

    August

    Focus on the Family Malaysia opens.
  • 1996

    April

    Focus on the Family Taiwan opens.
  • 1995

    January

    Focus on the Family Indonesia opens.

    July

    Focus on the Family Korea opens.

    September

    Focus on the Family Institute for college juniors and seniors opens its doors.
  • 1994

    January

    Sen. Bob Dole appoints Dr. Dobson to serve on the Commission on Child and Family Welfare.
  • 1993

    August

    Focus on the Family Australia opens.

    September

    Focus on the Family moves into new headquarters on 45-acre campus in Colorado Springs, Colo. with 1,200 employees.

    November

    Focus on the Family sponsors first Physicians Conference to professionally strengthen and spiritually equip medical doctors and their spouses. Focus on the Family Southern Africa opens (later becomes Focus on the Family Africa).
  • 1992

    Dr. Dobson Answers Your Questions syndicated column starts in newspapers around the country.
  • 1991

    February

    Dr. Dobson inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

    August

    Focus on the Family moves to Colorado Springs, Colo. with a staff of about 400 employees. Adventures in Odyssey children's radio drama transitions to a daily format; first Adventures in Odysseyhome video released.

    November

    First Focus on the Family radio broadcast in Russia.
  • 1990

    March

    Brio and Breakaway magazines for teen girls and boys first editions.

    July

    Parental Guidance entertainment reviews published (later becomes Plugged In entertainment reviews carried online and in a monthly newsletter).
  • 1989

    April

    Focus on the Family presents first Generation at Risk seminar to warn parents and youth of the danger of sex and violence in the media.

    March

    Focus on the Family releases first McGee and Me video for children with Tyndale House.
  • 1988

    January

    Debut of Family News in Focus, a radio program featuring news reporting on current issues affecting the family.

    February

    Enfoque a la Familia, a Spanish radio broadcast, debuts on 12 stations in the U.S., Guatemala, and Costa Rica.

    October

    Family Research Council partners with Focus on the Family.
  • 1987

    First Focus films, Twice Pardoned and A Winnable War, released on video. Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines for kids launch. Crisis Pregnancy Ministry starts (now Pregnancy Resource Ministry). Attorney General Edwin Meese appoints Dr. Dobson to the Attorney General’s Advisory Board on Missing and Exploited Children (1987-1988).

    September

    Focus on the Family moves from Arcadia to Pomona, Calif. with a staff of approximately 450.

    November

    A board of physicians to advise Focus on the Family on medical issues, called the Physicians Resource Council, is formed. Adventures in Odyssey, a half-hour audio-theatre production that ignites the imagination of children ages 6 to 12, premiers.
  • 1986

    April

    Focus on the Family begins making booklets and other print resources available to crisis pregnancy centers; more than 1,500 centers nationwide respond.

    May

    Focus on the Family magazine tops one million in circulation.

    June

    Focus on the Family book publishing division launches.
  • 1985

    March

    The film series Turn Your Heart Toward Home is taped in front of 16,000 people in Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum (viewed to date by an estimated 40 million worldwide).

    May

    Dr. Dobson accepts appointment to Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (1985-1986).

    Dec. 14

    The first 60-minute Weekend radio broadcast airs to recap the week’s Focus on the Family radio programs.
  • 1984

    November

    The United States Army appoints Dr. Dobson to advise on matters concerning soldiers and their families.

    July

    Focus on the Family’s first international office opens in Canada.

    November

    The 90-second James Dobson Family Commentary begins airing on radio stations nationwide.
  • 1983

    January

    Focus on the Family daily radio program goes worldwide via satellite.

    July

    First edition of Focus on the Family magazine, a publication featuring practical advice about family relationships, is released.

    December

    Focus breaks ground on a new headquarters in Arcadia, Calif., in the first structure designed and built for the ministry.
  • 1982

    Dr. Dobson is appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the National Advisory Commission for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1982-1984).
  • 1981

    June

    Tribute to Focus on the Family by U.S. House of Representatives recorded in the Congressional Record.

    August

    Focus staff is consolidated in one building in Arcadia, California, and the staff grows to 34.

    Nov. 2

    Daily Focus on the Family broadcast expands to 30 minutes.
  • 1980

    March 31

    Focus on the Family 15-minute daily radio broadcast premiers; it airs in addition to the 25-minute weekly broadcast.

    June

    100th radio station carries the broadcast.

    August

    Dr. Dobson is appointed to the White House Conferences on the Family.
  • 1978

    September

    "Focus on the Family" film series is recorded at Trinity University in San Antonio; the 1979 September seven-part series, released by Word Publishing, is eventually viewed by more than 90 million people worldwide.
  • 1977

    March 26

    Family psychologist Dr. James Dobson’s first Focus on the Family radio broadcast, titled Let’s Get Acquainted, airs as a weekly family advice program.

    June

    Focus on the Family incorporates as a non-profit organization with a staff of one in addition to Dr. Dobson.