The Parenting Education Program in Fairfax County


What is the Parenting Education Program and what is its philosophy?

The Parenting Education Program is a curriculum used by the Department of Family Services that offers caring, comprehensive classes to parents and their children to help them learn new ways to work together as a family. The program is based on the philosophy that parenting is learned – the way parents were raised directly influences the way they raise their children. The Parenting Education Program teaches positive and effective ways parents can interact with their children at every age and stage of development. The focus is on the family - where children learn the values and beliefs that shape their futures.

Who participates in the Parenting Education Program?

Families enroll in the program to make their families stronger and closer. This program helps participants understand nurturing behaviors and learn how nurturing behaviors can work within their family environment. Together the family learns to:

  • Build and develop the ability to recognize and value the thoughts and feelings of others.
  • Handle uncomfortable feelings such as stress and anger.
  • Communicate in non-threatening ways.
  • Establish consistent, nurturing routines for fun family activities.
  • Use alternatives to physical punishment.
  • Take charge of their own feelings and behaviors, and interact with others in positive ways.

Who may participate in the program?

Families living in Fairfax County who want to build healthy interactions and create positive change within their family.

What is the cost?

Classes are FREE and include an evening meal and child care.

What are the requirements for participating?

  • Participants must agree to complete the program as a family.
  • Participants should be comfortable in a group learning environment.
  • Participants must commit to attend the first three sessions to allow the group learning process to develop.

Participants of the Parenting Education Program have indicated that the classes:

  • Help build strong, positive relationships with family members.
  • Increase understanding and respect for the needs of family members.
  • Provide information about what to expect from children at different ages and developmental stages.
  • Increase the self-confidence of parents and children by focusing on strengths.
  • Offer alternatives to hitting, spanking and yelling.

In partnership with our community and with a commitment to quality service, the program promotes self-reliance in families and individuals by providing essential knowledge and resources tailored to the needs of the children, adolescents and adults.

Available Classes:

Parents and Children (Newborn to 4 years old) Offered in English and Spanish. 21-24 sessions
Parents learn to recognize and understand feelings; nurturing parenting routines; infant massage; child development; and ways to foster positive selfesteem in themselves and their children.

Parents and Children (5 to 11 years old) Offered in English and Spanish. 13 sessions
Parents and children learn to increase their empathy, discover new ways to encourage appropriate behaviors, build positive self-concept and self-esteem, and learn how to have fun as a family.

Parents and Adolescents (12 to 18 years old) Offered in English. 12 sessions
Family members learn nurturing communication strategies, how to recognize each other’s needs, how to understand the developmental stages of adolescence, and ways to build their own personal power, self-concept and self-esteem.

Parents and Children: Family Focused African-American – Focusing on Culture Offered in English. 13-24 sessions
The core program for this curriculum is the same as the basic Parenting Education Program but it also emphasizes how African-American history has affected the parenting style for African-Americans.

Good Touch/Bad Touch (Pre-K to 6th grade) Offered in English. 1 session
Parents enroll their children in the curriculum designed to teach children to prevent or interrupt sexual abuse, deal with bullies, effectively handle sad or angry feelings and stay safe from strangers who may cause them harm.

Teen Parenting Offered in select high schools. 12-14 sessions
Teen parents learn new nurturing skills and how to raise healthy children.

Read about Curriculum Topics (PDF) in the various classes.


Here's how you can become involved with parent education as a volunteer or partnering organization.

For more information about this program, call or write:
Fairfax County Department of Family Services
Children, Youth and Family Division
Child Abuse Prevention

12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, Virginia 22035

English: 703-324-7691 • TTY:711
Spanish: 703-324-7405 • TTY: 711
African American Cultural Focus: 703-324-3617 • TTY: 711
Partnering and Community Involvement: 703-324-7745 • TTY 711
Volunteer Manager: 703-324-7871 • TTY 711





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Fairfax County Department of Family Services
[ 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035 ]
[ 703-324-7500 ]

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