Department of Family Services – Children, Youth and Families

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


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Foster Care and Adoption

three children standing close looking downToday, 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.

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We’d love to keep in touch with you. Receive notifications about news and events, topics of interest, upcoming meetings, services for foster/adoptive families, and our free monthly newsletter the Foster Family News. To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

November is Adoption Awareness Month

National Adoption Awareness Month: Woven Together By LoveNovember is Adoption Awareness Month, a time for raising awareness about the urgent need for permanent homes for many children in foster care and celebrating all the adoptive families Woven Together by Love. Across the nation more than 64,000 children are legally free for adoption and nearly 1,200 of those children are waiting for adoptive families in Virginia. Learn more about the way Fairfax County is recognizing Adoption Month this year and how the county supports foster to adoptive families.

You Can Be A Foster Parent Too 

Hear from some Fairfax County foster parents about how foster parenting has shaped their lives for the better, and the positive impact they are making every day in children’s lives. Check out our other foster care and adoption videos for more stories. 

Comprender la Acogida Temporal y la Adopción

Charlas Comunitarias 2023-11-08 Consulte esta entrevista con Melissa Alba, especialista en Acogida Temporal y Adopción del Condado de Fairfax. Conozca el valor de la adopción desde el acogimiento temporal y las formas en que el Departamento de Servicios Familiares apoya a las familias que están considerando este camino. 

Foster Care and Adoption Program - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Foster Care

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.

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.

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

Who Are the Children?

two children on sofa holding fingers over eyesThey 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.

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 Do They Need to Know?
  • You can be a foster parent even if you don’t own your home. Renters are eligible to be foster parents.
  • Foster parents can be as young as 18.
  • No matter your marital status, you can be a foster parent to a child in need. Single, divorced and married (including LGBTQ couples) folks are all welcome!
  • Fairfax County’s greatest need is for loving homes for children in sibling groups and those 9 years of age and older.
  • The cost of many recreational activities (think summer camp and music lessons) for foster children are covered.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a foster parent and helping children in need. The next step is to create an account with the Faster Families Highway.

You will be prompted to complete a simple 6-step process to determine your fit with our agency goals and your readiness to become a foster parent.

Completing your profile puts you on track to hear from one of our specialists within two business days.

Do you have a general question about Foster Care and Adoption? Send an email or call 703-324-7639. Responses are provided within two business days.

2018 WUST Spanish-language radio program Patricia Aviles-CubillosPatricia Aviles-Cubillos discusses foster parent recruitment with host Heber Velasquez on “La Voz del Condado de Fairfax,” the County’s Spanish-language radio program on WUST-1120 AM. 


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)
  • Training and supportive services
  • A Resource Specialist
  • Financial assistance
  • Counseling
  • Child care

More than 70 percent of our adoptive families begin as foster parents, and then commit to adopting the child in their care.  Many are school aged and part of sibling groups. Learn more from this Inside Scoop Virginia video.

Inside Scoop Virginia video thumbnail


Mikalah and 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." 


The Unexpected Rewards of Foster Parenting is an interview with foster parents from Fairfax County who share their journey - what interest them initially; what steps they took to become foster parents; how long they served as foster parents; the relationship they built; challenges; rewards; advice based on their experience and more.


Forbese familyMeet some of the families who know this experience firsthand. Check out the videos of their personal stories to learn more about their journey.

Check out our data dashboard to help you better understand the scope of Foster Care and Adoption in Fairfax County.


Start the simple 6-step process to determine your readiness to become a foster parent. Complete the online form at your convenience! Hear back from one of our specialists within two business days.

For general questions about Foster Care and Adoption. Email us or call 703-324-7639.

2023 Fairfax County Foster Parents of the Year

Congratulations to LaToya Berryman and LaKisha Bell. They have been recognized as the 2023 Fairfax County Foster Parents of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. LaToya and LaKisha initially became foster parents to LaToya’s nieces in 2016, later adopting the children. They felt that they had more love to give to other children who needed a safe and loving home and continued fostering. Despite demanding professional jobs, LaKisha and LaToya have created a home that is filled with love and joy, making sure that the needs of all the children in the home are met. In addition to providing them with fun and creative outlets for their energy, LaToya and Lakisha work with therapists, health professionals, and teachers to make sure that the children are reaching developmentally and socially appropriate goals. LaKisha and LaToya are understanding, thoughtful, intentional, and patient parents who strive to constantly meet the individual needs of each child.

Adoption Snapshots White family feature photo graphicAdoption Snapshots Tell a Story – Meet the White Family

Adoption Snapshots catches a glimpse of families brought together through adoption. Parents share in their own words what it was like to meet and then build a bond with the children they have welcomed into their hearts and homes. We're grateful for these parents who were courageous enough to partner with our agency to provide permanent homes to children in need. Check back for new adoption snapshots posted throughout the year.

Katie and Zak’s Foster Care and Adoption Journey

Meet Katie and Zak. Katie is a teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools and a single mom who became part of a large extended family when Zak came into her life when he was 2 years old. Their story shows how foster care and adoption can knit together the lives and hearts of people from different backgrounds, locations, and cultures to make something beautiful and affirming for everyone involved. Learn more about their story and how we help connect children with forever families through adoption.

State Office of the Ombudsman
A state Office of the Children’s Ombudsman publicly launched May 3, 2022, with the purpose of helping individuals who have concerns about the way local department of social services (like the Fairfax County Department of Family Services) are handling a child protective services or foster care case. Learn more about this independent office.

Foster Family News graphic banner 2022Don't miss out on this monthly newsletter for current and potential Fairfax County foster parents. Each issue has information to help keep foster parents informed about new and notable happenings in Fairfax County - messages from staff, program plans, trends, trainings and policy changes, and more.

Join our team!

stock image of employeesIf you have an interest in helping children and families to thrive, come work with our Children, Youth and Families Division. Check out some of our open positions.

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