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 Family News – Current Issue

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Welcome to the 2023 September issue of Foster Family News, a monthly newsletter for current and potential Fairfax County foster parents. Our monthly newsletter shares resources, news, tips, events, and trainings relevant to foster and adoptive parents, children in care, and the resource workers who support them. 

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Fairfax County Foster Care ConGRADulates Our 2023 Graduates

Foster Care Grad Kamonya CharismaDid you know that nationally, only about half of children in foster care graduate from high school by age 19, and in Fairfax that statistic is only a bit higher at 60%? That’s why each year the Fairfax County Department of Family Services recognizes youth in foster care who earn their GED or graduate from high school, college, or vocational certificate programs. Learn about this year’s celebration and the amazing young people who were honored. Read More.


Tips for Back-to-School Success

Back to School Routines: mom fixing child's backpackWith the start of school, comes a new season and new demands on family schedules. It can become increasingly challenging to get kids back into a regular routine. Check out this series of tips from the Parenting Education Programs on improving family communication and establishing expectations around dinner, bedtime, mornings, and homework to help get the school year off to a strong start. Read More.



September is Kinship Care Awareness Month

September is Kinship Care Awareness Month: Keeping Children Connected to FamilyDuring Kinship Care Awareness Month, Virginia celebrates the unconditional commitment that relatives, close family friends and neighbors have made to ensure that children remain connected to their families and cultural traditions. Kinship caregivers provide love and support that allows children to thrive while also empowering family members to overcome the challenges that they face. In Virginia’s Kin First Culture, family engagement is the most critical element of our work. We understand that families are the experts on themselves and given the opportunity, will support one another to ensure that children remain safe and connected to their families of origin. We celebrate the work being done throughout the Department of Family Services to engage and support Kinship caregivers. Learn More.

National Child Welfare Workforce Month

National Child Welfare Workforce MonthA stable, supported, and diverse workforce allows child welfare agencies like the Department of Family Services to provide the services children, young people, families, and communities need. During Child Welfare Workforce Development Month, and Child Welfare Workforce Appreciation Week, we’d like to recognize the many individuals who work in our agency and our partner agencies supporting children and families in our community. Interested in becoming a part of our team? Check out our website.


Meet Mary, One of the Children Awaiting Adoption

green silhouette of girlMerary, who goes by Mary, is a 12-year-old girl who is outgoing, kind, witty, and social. Mary looks forward to school and interacts well with her teachers. Mary enjoys reading, art and music, and she plays multiple instruments. She loves to be active and enjoys playing soccer and going to the gym with her foster mother on Saturday mornings. Get to know more about this special child and what she is hoping for in a family.


Join the Fairfax County Teen Advocates Program 

Teen Advocates Program: Make Your Voice Count Domestic and Sexual Violence Services and Neighborhood and Community Services are recruiting for this year's cohort of Teen Advocates! This program is for teens ages 12-19 who are eager to build leadership skills and passionate about promoting healthy relationships and consent. Learn more about this opportunity and submit an application by Friday, September 29.




generic calendar graphicBackpacks and School Supplies available. Fairfax County Foster parents, please contact your case carrying foster care specialist to request school supplies for the children(ren) in your care if needed.


Saturday, Sept. 23, 4-7 p.m. – Foster the Family D.C. Respite Night. Free activities, dinner and a movie for any and all children (ages 0-12) living in foster, adoptive, and kinship families.

On Demand Scheduling – Virtual Body Safety Classes 
The Body Safety Program is now offering 30-60-minute virtual classes to any Pre-K through sixth grade students living in Fairfax County. These one-on-one or small group classes emphasize online safety. Offered in English or Spanish.

Department of Family Services graphic logoThe Department of Family Services supports families and county residents of all ages and stages of life – and that definitely includes foster parents and families! Like and Follow @FairfaxCountyFamilyServices for news, events, tips, stories, training opportunities and more.


A variety of organizations offer support to adoptive, foster, and kinship care families in our region. Register online for a preferred support group. 

Sunday, Sept. 3, 7:30-9 p.m. – Formed Families Forward Virtual Peer Support Groups for foster, adoptive, and kinship families.

Monday, Sept. 11, 6:30-8 p.m. – Foster the Family D.C. Support Groups for foster, kinship, and adoptive moms.

Saturday, Sept. 16, 8 a.m. – Foster the Family D.C. Dad’s Gathering for foster, adoptive, and kinship dads in Fairfax.

Wednesdays, Sept. 20-Oct. 25, 6-7:30 p.m. – Parents of Teens Support Group hosted by the Center for Adoption Support and Education. This is a six-week, virtual support group for adoptive and foster parents of teenagers to network. 

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 7-8:30 p.m. – Formed Families Forward in-Person Peer Support Groups for foster, adoptive, and kinship families.

Thursday, Sept. 21, 6:15-8 p.m. – Formed Families Forward In-Person Fairfax Kinship Support Group provides a safe, nurturing, and healthy environment for caregivers to share their experiences, concerns, and frustrations with their peers. In partnership with Fairfax County Government.

Thursday, Oct. 5, 6:30-8 p.m. – Formed Families Forward Virtual Fairfax Kinship Support Group provides a safe, nurturing, and healthy environment for caregivers to share their experiences, concerns, and frustrations with their peers. In partnership with Fairfax County Government.

Each newsletter will include this section to help answer questions, spotlight the people who support foster families, highlight the donors and sponsors who generously give to foster care programs and activities and friendly reminders for foster families to sign-up for trainings.


question marksWhen do we engage relatives in the foster care process?

Answer: Even when placed in safe and loving foster homes, children often want a connection to their biological family. Relatives and other individuals can provide important connections and support for the child at risk of or in foster care. Within 30 calendar days (5 days when feasible) after the separation of a child from the custody of the parent(s) (Social Security Act, Title IV, § 471 (a) (29) [42 USC 671]), the Department shall notify in writing all grandparents and other adult relatives, both maternal and paternal. The purpose of the written notice is to explain to the relative options they have to participate in the care and placement of the child, in an effort to establish permanency for the child. As a foster family, the process of engaging relatives should be guided by the desires and needs of the child, consistent with the child’s developmental level. The child should be involved as soon as possible in the process, taking into account the child’s circumstances and best interests. Read More.

Check out other frequently asked questions and answers from past issues.

Story In Statistics

Stort in Statistics: Educational Status






Educational Status of the 40 youth in foster care over age 18

  • 23 Currently enrolled in school (3 in Higher Education)
  • 9 Not in school
  • 5 Graduated high school but not in higher ed. 
  • 2 dropped out of high school. 
  • 1 graduated community college.

(Current as of July 30 2023)


There are a lot of misconceptions about foster care, foster parents, and the children and families involved. This section aims to dispel some of those notions and provide clarity for those interested in supporting foster care.

Myth: Foster parents are responsible for providing medical insurance for children in foster care.

Fact: Foster parents do not have to provide medical insurance. Children in foster care receive coverage through the state for all medical, dental, and mental health care needs.

Check out other myths from past issues.


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Training for Fairfax County licensed Foster Parents.


Wednesday, October 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Trauma-Related Behaviors (Virtual via Zoom) hosted by CRAFFT for current or prospective resource families. Questions?

Thursday, November 2, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Connections with Birth Families after Adoption (Virtual via Zoom) hosted by CRAFFT for current or prospective resource families. Questions?

Foster Parent College Online Training
Foster Parent College offers training on a variety of key topics. Newly approved and seasoned foster parents can build new skills or reinforce information acquired from New Generation PRIDE. FPC is self-paced and can be accessed online from anywhere at your convenience 24/7. All classes are free to approved foster parents with Fairfax County. You may choose to take any class you believe will be helpful for your own personal growth and development. This month’s featured training is Substance-Exposed Infants. Read More.

If you have questions or need additional support, please reach out to one of the in-service trainers; Emily Thomas. You may also contact FPC at 541-343-6636 or toll free at 1-800-777-6636, (PT) for technical difficulties. As always, once a class is completed, please email the certificate to Emily Thomas.


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Submit your suggestions to Angela Morlu.


Check out past issues of Foster Family News

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