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 2024 May 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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Table of Contents
Feature Articles
Events Central
Support Groups
FAQs, Story in Stats & Myths
Trainings and Conferences

Foster Care Month: Engaging Youth. Building Supports. Strengthening Opportunities

foster care month authentic relationshipsNational Foster Care Month is an important time to raise awareness of issues related to foster care and to celebrate those, like our foster parents, who are dedicated to serving our children, youth, and families. This year, the Children’s Bureau’s theme, Engaging Youth. Building Supports. Strengthening Opportunities, raises awareness about the important role that members from all parts of child welfare including foster parents have in supporting young people and helping them transition successfully to adulthood. It also emphasizes the importance of involving young people early and throughout their time in foster care to help improve their experience while in care and improve their long-term outcomes. We encourage everyone to check out the resources at National Foster Care Month - Child Welfare Information Gateway, and visit our local Community Engagement Toolkit if you are looking for local facts and messages to raise awareness in our community. 

Celebrating Our Foster Parents for Their Years of Support!

Thank you Our foster parents are the best! So, during Foster Care Month each year, we like to take the time to say “THANK YOU!” We also recognize the foster parents who have reached important milestones in partnership with our program. Serving five, ten, or more years as a foster parent takes amazing dedication and passion, and a selfless, giving spirit. Thank you for your endless support, flexible nature, accepting attitudes, and nurturing actions. Check out the folks who have reached significant milestones in their foster parenting journey! Out of respect for their privacy, full identification is not provided for everyone, but you can learn more about a couple of these families by clicking the links below.

Thank you for fostering over the past five years Venessa & Robert B.; LaToya B. & Lakesha B.; Emily & Don B.; George F. & Jaclyn S.; Kelly & Curtis S.; Emily & Gary G.; Tanja  H.; Patricia & Stuart J.; Laura K.; Adam L. & Sarah F.; Jacqueline &. Ben N.; Heather R. & Graham F.; Bryant S. & Tremayne B.; Jennifer and Patrick V. We would also like to give special thanks to Angelique & Christopher B. and Marla E. & Tim M. for continuing to be foster parents with us for the last 10 years.

5 Things You Should Know About Karen Roberts, Supervisor Foster Care & Adoption Placement and Resource Unit

hands clasped in supportKaren Roberts, the supervisor for our Foster Care and Adoption Placement and Resource Unit has had a long rewarding career as a social worker, and most of that has been in roles with Fairfax County Government. Soon it’ll be time to say goodbye to Karen as she heads off into retirement. She will be greatly missed by everyone in the Foster Care and Adoption program for her steady hand in day-to-day situations. Please check out these five things to know about Karen and be sure to reach out to wish her well in her future adventures. Learn more.

Welcome to the New Foster Parents Certified in FY 2024!

wooden home and heart Join us in celebrating the Fairfax County foster parents who completed the training and certification process between May 2023 and May 2024. Becoming a foster parent is one-of-a-kind rewarding adventure, and we applaud the success of certifying 36 new resource families in the last year. Learn more


New Report on State-By-State Survey of Kinship Care Policies

four children standing side-by-side smilingA new report released by the Anne E. Casey Foundation, Family Ties: Analysis From a State-By-State Survey of Kinship Care Policies, identifies efforts by states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to promote kinship care and support kinship caregivers. The report highlights progress made at reducing barriers to foster care licensing, long-standing inequities in financial assistance for kinship caregivers and new opportunities to address their needs. Learn more.


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generic calendar graphicFoster Parent Night Out! for Fairfax County Licensed Foster and Adoptive Parents 
Saturday, May 4, 2024 
4-7 p.m.

We’re looking forward to seeing those families who’ve registered at this event! We have a great time planned with dinner, child care, and a presentation on strategies to improve health and well-being after childhood trauma.  For more information, contact Rosario Phelps.

Spring Farm Day
Saturday, May 4
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Frying Pan Farm Park, 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon
Family fun on the farm! See what life is like on the farm with real sheep shearing and antique farm equipment demonstrations. Get hands-on and try milking cows and goats. Enjoy crafts, games, and get an up-close introduction to the baby farm animals. Register online.

Wetlands Awareness Day
Sunday, May 5
Noon to 4 p.m. 

Huntley Meadows Park
3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria
Discover the beauty and importance of wetlands at this free event. Bring the family and stroll through the forested paths and immersive boardwalk trail. Learn about plants and animals that live in the park. See live raptors, reptiles and amphibians up close and enjoy interactive displays and activities. Shuttle rides are available at Groveton Elementary to Huntley Meadows Park. Register online.

Foster Care Coffee Chat (virtual interest meeting)
Saturday, May 11, 2024
9:30 -10:30 a.m. 

If you love coffee, care about children, and are curious about foster care, then this is an event just for you! Whether fostering has been on your mind for a while, or you are just starting to ask questions, then grab your morning cup of coffee & join us! Wherever you are in your journey, we would love to chat with you in this virtual space! Email for more information or register online today! 

Mother's Day Events hosted by Foster the Family D.C.
Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m.-noon Prince William County Brunch
Monday, May 13, 6:30-8 p.m. Fairfax County Dinner
Monday, May 13, 6:30-8 p.m. Montgomery County Dinner
These free events are celebrating foster, adoptive, and kinship moms from the DMV area. Limited spots and GIFTS for everyone that attends. Registration is required.

Respite Nights hosted by Foster the Future D.C.
Saturdays – Dates vary
4-7 p.m. 

Foster the Future D.C. offers local foster, adoptive, and kinship families regular Respite Nights in several localities in the DMV area. During a Respite Night, they provide three hours of free child care with fun activities, including outside time (weather permitting), dinner, and a movie in a safe, fun, trauma-informed space. Respite Nights are for ANY & ALL CHILDREN (ages 0-12) in the home of local foster, adoptive, and kinship families. Find upcoming events near you and register online

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. 

Thursdays, May 2 and June 6, 6:30-8 p.m. – Formed Families Forward Virtual Fairfax Kinship Support Group for caregivers to safely share their experiences, concerns, and frustrations with their peers. In partnership with Fairfax County Government.

Sunday, May 5, 7:30-9 p.m. – Formed Families Forward Virtual Peer Support Groups for foster, adoptive, and kinship families to support and encourage each other.

Wednesday, May 15, 7-8:30 p.m. – Formed Families Forward in-Person Peer Support Groups for foster, adoptive, and kinship families.

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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 marksCan the youth in my home have a cell phone? If they already have a cell phone, what are the parameters around allowing them to use it? Who pays for the cell phone?

Answer: Cell phone privileges are dependent on the youth’s age and development. This is an arrangement that should be discussed and planned with the youth’s specialist and foster family. Every situation is different regarding who is responsible for payment. A birth parent, youth, foster family or the Department may pay for a cell phone. As with any youth, foster families should be engaged with the youth placed in their home, and get to know their friends and acquaintances, and monitor relationships. 

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

Story In Statistics

Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption
FY 2023 Entrance Demographics 

Story in Stats: FY 2023 Entrance Demographics










100 Children entered foster care
31% Of children were above 11 years old (n= 31)
36% Of children were African American (n= 36)
92% Entered care due to abuse/neglect (n=92)
5% Were returned at the 5-day hearing (n=5)

Foster Care Facts That Might Surprise You

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.

Fact: Entering foster care is never a child’s fault.

Explanation: Sadly, according to the 2022 U.S. Adoption and Foster Care Attitudes Survey more than half (51%) of Americans mistakenly believe that children are placed in foster care because they have done something wrong. In reality, children enter foster care through no fault of their own, but instead because of parental neglect or abuse; and they need loving supportive families to help them overcome the trauma.

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orange mechanical gears

A Youth Welfare Approach: Relational Transformation for Resource Parents, hosted by Northern Region CRAFFT
Wednesday, May 8
6:30-9 p.m
Participants are required to be on camera, actively participating in training and adhere to the virtual training requirements. For more information contact Katie Lo Monaco, Northern Region CRAFFT Coordinator at or 703-296-8078. Register in advance for this free training. 

Foster Care: A Means to Support Families, hosted by Northern Region CRAFFT
Wednesday, June 12
6:30-8:30 p.m.

Participants are required to be on camera, actively participating in training and adhere to the virtual training requirements. For more information contact Katie Lo Monaco, Northern Region CRAFFT Coordinator at or 703-296-8078. Register in advance for this free training.

53rd NFPA Education Conference 
June 21-23, 2024
Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia

One of the largest gatherings of foster, kinship, and adoptive parents, Friends, Families, Supporters and child welfare professionals from around the country. Connect with Others and share your lived experiences. Enjoy exhibits, educational sessions, a Gala Appreciation Dinner, a Family-Friendly Sock Hop, and a Silent and Live Auction. Learn more.

Training for Youth in Fairfax County Foster Care or Fostering Futures

Let’s Get Creative! Art Therapy Workshop, In Partnership with Beauty For Ashes
Wednesday, May 15
6-8 p.m.

During this fun workshop you will try different drawing exercises led by an experienced artist, discuss how to utilize art as a form of coping and expression, and receive a sketchbook to take home with you. This is especially for youth, ages 14-21, who are currently in the care of Fairfax County Department of Family Services or Fairfax County’s Fostering Futures Program. Dinner provided for in-person attendees. Language interpreters and childcare may be provided upon request. Contact us to learn more or register.

Training for Fairfax County licensed Foster Parents

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 Children Entering Care: Mental Health Issues (Also available in Spanish). 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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