Department of Family Services - Children and Families

Fairfax County, Virginia

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

Oriane Eriksen,
Director

Father Engagement

Operating Status for Department of Family Services (DFS) Programs and Services

Skip the trip! Although most of our services are not being provided in-person at this time, we continue to offer services online and by phone. Learn more about our Assistance from a Distance.

Stay connected with the Department of Family Services (DFS) and follow our Facebook page (@FairfaxCountyFamilyServices).

Information About Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Fairfax County

Get the most up-to-date information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Fairfax County.


adult and two children on skateboardFathers, like mothers, play a significant role in their children’s psychological and emotional development. When fathers are actively involved, children are less likely to experience:

  • Mental illness
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Youth sexual activity
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Substance use
  • Childhood poverty
  • High school drop out

We Believe:

  • Fathers are irreplaceable in the lives of their children
  • There is a direct link between positive father involvement and child well-being
  • Fathers contribute to their children’s safety and stability.

Dads Parenting Classes

Dads Parenting Group facilitator and participantsIt's a fact -- fathers are important to their children. Their positive involvement contributes to child safety and well-being. Dads Parenting Classes focus on self-awareness, self-care, parenting skills and relationship skills.

Do You Want to Improve Your Parenting and Fathering Skills?
Our Father Engagement Unit sponsors the services and activities below to enhance fathers’ parenting and fathering skills, and to promote and celebrate the importance of fathers in Fairfax County.

Program Includes

  • 24/7 Dad™ parenting group
  • Meals
  • Access to Fairfax County resources
  • Access to father-child friendly community activities

Characteristics of a 24/7 Dad™

  • Self awareness
  • Caring for self
  • Fathering skills
  • Parenting skills
  • Relationship skills

12 Sessions and One Orientation Meeting - Free for all participants!

  • Dads Parenting Group in English - Available Online
    Wednesdays, Sept. 9-Dec. 9, 6-8:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is required. Enroll in a free Dads Parenting Group by completing this form. (For Fathers Only)

For more information about Dads Parenting Group or registration, contact Bennie Herron 703-324-7308, Mercedes Alonzo 703-324-7677 (Spanish) or Champana Bernard 703-324-3611.


Pocket Dad Video

Pocket Dad Video: Virtual Back to School Success
Back to school in 2020 is full of new challenges for families! The team from the Father Engagement Unit is experiencing those same challenges at home. So, they are sharing tips to help dads support their children in getting a good start to the virtual school year.

(YouTube, Facebook)

Check back for new videos. Catch-up on all of the Pocket Dad videos.


Father Engagement Podcasts

County Conversation - Dads and Parenting

DFS staff, Marcus Garr of the Parenting Education Programs and Bennie Herron of the Father Engagement Program made a joint appearance on the June 5, County Conversation podcast with host Jim Person to talk about dads! Listen to their conversation to learn how each program’s classes and other services help dads to embrace their role in the family and parent with confidence! Tune in to the interview through the SoundCloud podcast.

County Conversation Dads and Parenting group photo

La Voz del Condado de Fairfax - WUST’s Spanish-Language Program 1120 AM

On Tuesday, Mar. 17, Yuri Villacorta and Mercedes Alonzo from the Children, Youth and Families Division were guests on “La Voz del Condado de Fairfax” discussing Fairfax County services that support families and prevent child abuse and neglect. They focused specifically on our Father Engagement Program and issues in parenting that are specific to dads. If you missed it, you can listen to the interview

Dad's Eye View


Omega Fraternity members group photoA Fraternity’s Charge: Volunteering for Dads

The brothers of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity (Psi Alpha Alpha chapter) challenged their membership to find a program that helped empower dads. “We’re a male organization and we’re fathers. Unfortunately, there’s an absence of fathers, particularly in minority communities. We want to assist with that to the best of our ability,” Craig Spraggins, president of the Psi Alpha Alpha chapter, said. Learn more about their story.


hands stacked in support of each otherDads Parenting Group Facilitates Domestic Violence Discussion

The term domestic violence strikes a different chord in all of us; this much was evident during a recent Father Engagement Unit Dads Parenting Group. The unit took advantage of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month to tackle this tough subject matter with the men in the group, many of whom have direct experience with the issue. Learn more about this discussion.


2020 Fatherhood Awareness Month banner graphicFairfax County recognizes that June is Fatherhood Awareness Month. Fathers, like mothers, play a significant role in their children’s psychological and emotional development. They contribute to their children’s safety and stability, and there is a direct link between positive father involvement and child well-being. Learn more about Fatherhood Awareness Month and join us in celebrating fathers. #FatherhoodMonth

Fairfax Virtual Assistant