Department of Family Services - Children and Families

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035

Oriane Eriksen,

Foster Care and Adoption

Meet the Andersons - 2019 Foster Parents of the Year

Anderson family group

Meet the Andersons, Fairfax County’s 2019 Foster Parents of the Year for Fairfax County by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). Learn what happened when this family of 10 opened their home and hearts to a medically fragile boy who needed a heart transplant. Check out their heartbreaking yet heartwarming story.

What Is the Foster Care and Adoption Program?

Today, nearly 200 Fairfax County children are in foster care. The Department of Family Services' Foster Care and Adoption Program offers temporary foster homes for these children, and services to help their families. When a child cannot return home safely, we seek to find relatives who want to care for the child, and are legally eligible to do so. If a relative is not identified, or is unable to care for the child, we seek a permanent home through adoption.

Who Are These Children?

They are children in Fairfax County who:

  • Have their worlds turned upside down.
  • Need a safe haven during difficult times.
  • Need a foster home due to abuse or neglect.
  • Range in age from infant to 18.
  • Come from diverse backgrounds.
  • Have experienced devastating losses of family and identity.
  • Search for a sense of belonging.
  • Have their confidence and feelings of self-worth shattered.
  • Feel frightened and alone.
What Do They Need?
  • Foster and adoptive parents.
  • Stable, nurturing homes.
  • Someone in their corner.
  • To learn to trust again.
  • Day-to-day guidance.
  • Support from loving adults.
What Is the Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption?

Foster care refers to finding a temporary home for a child outside the home where he or she had been raised. This may occur as a result of abuse, neglect or other circumstances that put the child at risk. During this time, family problems are addressed so that the child can return home safely, or plans are made to find a safe and nurturing home for the child outside his or her birth family.

Adoption provides a permanent home when a child cannot return to the parents or relatives.

Who Can Foster and Adopt?

People who:

  • care about children.
  • want to make a difference in children's lives and futures.
  • are 18 or older.
  • may be married, single or divorced.
  • may work outside the home.
  • are able to provide a safe, loving home.
What Are Ways to Be a Foster Parent?

Foster parents offer children safety and stability until they can return to their families or go to permanent homes. Foster families offer different types of care:

  • Regular Foster Home: Children stay for any length of time, often one to two years.
  • Resource Home: These families are willing to both foster and adopt a child, depending on the child's needs.
  • Child-Specific: Children are placed with relatives or close friends who know the children's background and circumstances.
Are There Resources Available for Foster Parents?
  • Training and supportive services
  • A Resource Specialist
  • Financial assistance
  • Counseling
  • Child care
What Supports Are Available for Foster Parents?

Our foster parents receive:

  • reimbursement for room and board, clothing, and related expenses
  • medical and dental care for the children through Medicare or other sources (Podcast: EMS Care for Youth in Foster Care)
  • ongoing training and support, such as workshops and social events
  • services the child may need, such as
    • day care
    • respite care
    • summer camp
    • school fees and trips
    • other recreational activities (e.g., music lessons)
What If a Foster Parent Wants to Adopt?

Learn more from this Inside Scoop Virginia video.

Inside Scoop Virginia video thumbnail three adults

Monthly Information Meetings

Learn all about being a foster parent at a monthly information meeting.

Mikalah, Lesley

"Finding my forever family has made such a big impact in my life! We enjoy being together, supporting each other, and making lots of new memories. I strongly encourage anyone considering fostering or adopting to do it - you can make all the difference in the life of a kid like me." 

"As a first-time single parent, I was nervous about raising a teenager, but everything fell into place the minute I met her, and it's been an exceptional experience ever since!"

Leslie, Rachel, Bob, Michael

"I have learned that adoption is not for the faint of heart. Some days I am aggravated. Some days I am exasperated. Some days I am heartbroken. Some days I ask, 'what have I gotten myself into?' But every day I know that this is among the greatest things I have ever done. In some situations you are literally saving a child's life. But in every situation you are offering a child the opportunity to see all the possibilities this world has to offer." 

Fairfax Virtual Assistant