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 Family News – Current Issue

Foster Family Newsletter banner

Welcome to the 2021 April issue of Foster Family News, a monthly newsletter for current and potential Fairfax County foster parents.

Table of Contents
  • Words from Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption Association (FCFCAA)
  • April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • How to Know When Your Child Has a Mental Health Concern
  • Unit Success Stories: Success Can Be the Smallest Steps
  • Support After an Adoption
  • Events Central
  • Frequently Asked Question: How do I manage a youth's use of social media? 
  • Story in Statistics: Children Entering Foster Care
  • Foster Care Myths
  • Trainings and Conferences


Words from Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption Association (FCFCAA)

Bethany ShivelyBethany Shively, Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption Association (FCFCAA) President, provides suggestions for ways that the community – friends, neighbors, churches, co-workers, and others – can help to support foster parents, and a reminder to foster parents to reach out to their networks for that support.

Check out Bethany's message.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child Abuse Prevention Month, Building Stronger Families, A safe and healthy childhood lasts a lifetime, Department of Family Services - pinwheel graphic, photo of different age childrenThe county’s Child Abuse Prevention efforts seek to Build Stronger Families that can provide safe and healthy childhoods and lead to creating a strong, thriving community. Children’s lives can be positively changed and even saved by active and aware community members making that critically important decision to ask more questions and offer help. Many situations and conditions are preventable once community programs and systems are engaged. Join the conversation online

How to Know When Your Child Has a Mental Health Concern

teenager sitting looking out window holding cell phoneParenting can be difficult, even under the best of circumstances. Now the coronavirus pandemic has brought major changes to every aspect of our lives – how we live, work, teach, and play – making parenting more stressful. Many parents are concerned about how children are handling the social isolation of distance learning, alongside the usual trials and challenges of growing up. Healthy Minds Fairfax has some advice for how monitor children’s mental health (English or Spanish). 

Unit Success Stories: Success Can Be the Smallest Steps

Foster Care and Adoption unit group photo of seven peopleFoster Care and Adoption unit supervisor, Melody Vielbig explains that throughout her many years of work in foster care, she has loved celebrating small moments of success with so many children, youth, and families. Read one of her unit’s unconventional success stories and learn about a youth who found strength inside of herself to make strides in gaining independence and improving her mental health. Learn more about this unit's success story.

Support After an Adoption

parent hugging child smilingAdopting a child is a joyful event. However, adoption also involves loss for all of those involved and comes with a unique set of family issues. Like all children, those who are adopted may face difficulties with emotions, development, friendships, or school. Even parents who are well prepared to adopt can have feelings they did not expect. Learn more about these normal challenges and learn about resources

Events Central

generic calendar graphicAdoptive Parent Peer Support Group hosted by Northern Post Adoption Consortium
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021 8-9 p.m.
Virtually via Zoom
Join adoptive parent peers for a parent-led virtual support group. Groups are offered twice a month and will provide opportunities to explore adoption focused psychoeducation, as well as practical advice and support from parents with the first-hand experience of adoption. All events are free and open to adoptive parents from the Northern region of Virginia; however, space is limited and registration is required. Register online.

Your Child’s Sensory World hosted by Children's Home Society of Virginia, Northern Post Adoption Consortium, and the Virginia Department of Social Services 
Saturday, April 24, 2021 3-5 p.m.
Virtually via Zoom
Through this workshop, explore the sensory needs of your child and how to promote behavioral and emotional growth by focusing on and supporting sensory needs. This will also be a chance for support from your adoptive parent peers. This virtual workshop is free for adoptive parents in the Northern region of Virginia. Register online.

Parent’s Night In: Virtual Trivia hosted by Children's Home Society of Virginia and Northern Post Adoption Consortium
Thursday, May 6, 2021 5-7 p.m.
Virtually via Zoom 
Friend of CHSVA, Janice Hinkledire, will be hosting a fun night of trivia and games for adoptive parents in the Northern Post Adoption Consortium service area. This will be an opportunity to unwind, have fun, and build relationships with other parents who have adopted children. There will be prizes for the winners of each round!! So, make some snacks and settle in for virtual trivia fun with your adoptive parent peers!! Register online

Visit the Northern Post Adoption Consortium for other upcoming free events for adoptive parents and children in the northern region. 

The county is offering some in-person events at county facilities. In addition, our partners at Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, Fairfax County Public Library, and the Fairfax County Park Authority continue providing exploration and fun through online resources. 

Neighborhood and Community Resources
NCS Connects: After School is a virtual program for youth to explore areas of interest to them Monday-Friday between 3-6 p.m. at

Fairfax County Park Authority
Offers programs and classes for all ages. All classes are conducted according to Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines. Outdoor, indoor and virtual class options are available in a wide range of interest areas. You can get details about dates, times, and fees or register for programs at Parktakes Online. Check out information about the schedule at other park facilities and amenities

Fairfax County Public Library Branches Returned to Express Service
Limited in-person browsing. Library staff continues creating and providing many programs, events, and services families can participate in from home. Check out the calendar of upcoming Digital Programs and Events

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 to access a variety of news, events, tips, stories, training opportunities and more.

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 marksQuestion: How do I manage a youth's use of social media? 

Answer: Child Welfare Information gateway has excellent information – Social Media: Tips for Foster Parents and Caregivers and more resources.

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


Children Entering Foster Care
76 children entered Fairfax County Foster Care in FY 2020.Story in Statistics - graphic 76 children entered Fairfax County Foster Care in FY 2020


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: You can’t be single.

Fact: No matter your marital status, you can be a foster parent to a child in need. Single, divorced and married (including LGBTQ couples) people are all welcome!

TRAININGS AND CONFERENCES (For Fairfax County Foster Parents Only)

Foster Parent College
Foster Parent College (FPC) is a great way to obtain training on key topics from the safety and comfort of your home. FPC provides newly approved and seasoned foster parents with a curriculum designed to build new skills and reinforce information acquired from New Generation PRIDE (formerly PRIDE). As approved foster parents with Fairfax County, all classes are free and available to you 24/7. You may choose to take any class you believe will be helpful for your own personal growth and development.

If you have questions or need additional support, please reach out to one of the in-service trainers Palinda Belcher or Terri Williams-Henderson. You may also contact FPC on 541-343-6636 or toll free on 1-800-777-6636, (PT) for technical difficulties. As always, once a class is completed, please email the certificate to either Palinda Belcher (if your last name begins with A-J) or Terri Williams-Henderson (if your last name begins with K-Z). 

Inservice (For certified Fairfax County foster parents. Registration required.)
Learn more and save the dates for upcoming trainings and conferences.


envelopeWhat do you want to see in Foster Family News?

Submit your suggestions to Angela Morlu.



Check out past issues of Foster Family News.

Back to top

Fairfax Virtual Assistant