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

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 Groups

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 Groups 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!

Sessions in Spanish

  • Sessions will be held virtually on Tuesdays 6-8:30 p.m.
  • Sessions take place Sept. 7–Nov. 30, 2021.

Sessions in English

  • Sessions will be held virtually on Wednesdays 6-8:30 p.m.
  • Sessions take place Sept. 8–Dec. 8, 2021.

Pre-registration is required. Enroll by completing this form. (For Fathers Only)

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


Pocket Dad Video

Information About Dads Parenting Groups (Spanish)
Check out this video in Spanish from Mercedes Alonzo and Yuri Villacorta explaining what the Dads Parenting Groups are all about. The groups are for Fairfax County residents, or dads with children living in Fairfax. Learn more by contacting Mercedes Alonzo 703-324-7677 (Spanish).

(Check out more Pocket Dad videos!)


Father Engagement Unit Helps Strengthen Families


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

WUST’s Spanish-Language Program 1120 AM

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

On Tuesday, March 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.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant