Department of Family Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Michael A. Becketts
Director

Advisory Social Services Board (ASSB)

The Advisory Social Services Board (ASSB) interests itself in all matters pertaining to the social welfare of the people served by the Fairfax County Government. The Board monitors the formation and implementation of social welfare programs; meets with the Director of Social Services (in Fairfax County it is the Director of Family Services) at least four times annually for the purpose of making recommendations on policy matters; makes an annual report to the governing body concerning the administration of the public welfare program; and submits to the governing body other reports the advisory body deems appropriate.

Mission
The Department of Family strengthens the well-being of our diverse community by protecting and improving the lives of all children, adults, and families through assistance, partnership, advocacy, outreach, and quality services.

Vision
Fairfax County is a community where everyone lives their success story and thrives. 

Fairfax County logo

 

February 2024

Dear Chairman McKay and Members of the Board of Supervisors,

The Advisory Social Services Board (ASSB) presents this annual report as required by the Code of Virginia, on the services provided and outcomes achieved by the Department of Family Services (DFS) in 2023. As this report shows, the need for DFS services remains high.

The need for the services provided to the community continues to grow and is still affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In our post-pandemic environment, the number of county residents accessing public benefits remains significantly increased over pre-pandemic times. This growth in caseload is related to the still-changing State and federal policy related to Medicaid and childcare services. The number of recipients for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has not dissipated, signaling that many families who accessed this service during the pandemic continue to remain eligible for this program to help them buy food. Research has shown that economic stress, unaddressed or under-addressed mental health needs, and other social stressors are correlated to higher incidence of family violence. DFS also continues to see increases in its protective programs in adult protective services, child protective services, and domestic and sexual violence services.

Over the past year, the ASSB focused on the intersection of DFS services with other human services agencies, especially with respect to the needs of children and youth. The ASSB studied child and youth wellbeing as it relates to adverse childhood experiences, and saw how the effects of violence, abuse, or neglect, household substance use, mental health problems, and economic hardship can span a child’s lifetime. However, interventions that support the integration of protective factors in families, available through DFS and the broader Health and Human Services Continuum, can reduce the behavioral, social, and emotional impacts of maltreatment, both for the short and long term.

While a focus on well-being is integrated into all aspects of DFS services, the reparative and preventative work of the department must continue, as well as collaboration with other human services agencies, public safety officers, and the courts, to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments where children live, learn, and play.

With timely intervention, children are more likely to be successful in school, teens are more likely to be engaged in work or educational pursuits, adults are more likely to own homes and businesses, and older adults are more likely to remain active and independent. These elements form the foundation of our robust community here in Fairfax County.

DFS bears witness each day to the lingering impacts of the pandemic on our community’s most vulnerable residents and aspires to provide supportive services to meet the evolving complex needs of the families and individuals at risk. The rise in inflation, increased sexual and domestic violence, and behavioral health issues are all putting a strain on social services and the community. As a result, the services DFS provides are essential for supporting the community and helping people thrive. Maintaining core DFS services is critical to the success of the community.

The ASSB takes note with satisfaction of what DFS has been able to accomplish in a post-pandemic world marked by the evolving and complex needs of families and individuals served, and wishes to thank the Board of Supervisors for your ongoing support of critical human services and those provided by DFS in particular, and looks forward to working collaboratively with the county to address the challenges for families and individuals served by DFS in this post-pandemic world.

Sincerely,
Laura Martinez, Chair
Advisory Social Services Board

*To request reasonable accommodations or to receive this information in an alternate format, contact Melanie Fenwick by email or call 703-324-7868, TTY 711.

At-Large - Chairman’s Office, Noah Abraham
Braddock District - Vacant
City of Falls Church - Mary Wilcox
City of Fairfax - Vacant
Dranesville District - Benjamin Zuhl
Hunter Mill District - Joe Koszarek
Franconia District - Latriece Prince-Wheeler
Mason District - Julian De Phillips, Secretary
Mount Vernon District - Raymond McGrath, Vice Chair
Providence District - Laura Martinez, Chair
Springfield District - Vacant
Sully District - Jose M. Garzon

Advisory Social Services Board Bylaws*

Advisory Social Services Board Resolution*

Local Board Member Handbook*

Advisory Social Services Board Policy for All Virtual Public Meetings

Advisory Social Services Board Policy for Remote Participation of Members

Virginia Legislative Code 63.2-305

*Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request reasonable accommodations or to receive this information in an alternate format, contact Melanie Fenwick by email or call 703-324-7868, TTY 711.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant