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

Spotlight on the South County Foster Care Unit

Foster Family Newsletter banner

Get to know the staff in our South County Foster Care Unit. Their goal is achieving timely permanency for children while ensuring their safety and well-being. The unit strives to assist and support birth parents on reunifying with their children. Supervisor Nakejah Allen answers a few questions about the unit. 

Foster Family News: What is your background as a manager?

Nakejah Allen: I have been a supervisor with Fairfax County Foster Care and Adoption program for the past four years. 

FFN: What is your philosophy of social work? 

NA: I believe that people and families have the capacity to change. That families are the experts on themselves and that it is important to listen and support children and families through their journey.

FFN: How long have you worked in the field of social work?

NA: I have been in the field of social work for 15 years. Prior to my current position, I was a case carrying foster care social worker for 10 years in a different county. I have also done work as a home-based counselor providing clinical services to individuals, families, and couples.

FFN: What is the name of your unit? 

NA: We are fortunate to be one of the two South County foster care units. Along with my unit we have the privilege of working closely with another South County foster care unit.  Although we are separate teams we generally function as one team to assist and support each other. 

FFN: What is the structure of your unit? 

NA: The unit consists of four case carrying specialists. Two Social Service Specialist II’s and Two Social Services Specialist III’s. We are also supported by an administrative assistant. 

South County Foster Care Unit photo collage
From Left to Right: (top row) Monique White, Katherine Altamirano; (bottom row) Giovonna Perry Ruffner, Nakejah Allen, Serita Lee.

FFN: What does your unit do, and what is the main goal of your unit?

NA: We work with children and their families that are involved in the foster care system. Our main goal is to achieve timely permanency for children while ensuring their safety and well-being. We strive to assist and support birth parents on reunifying with their children. We also identify and engage relatives that can be natural supports or a placement resource.  

FFN: Do you provide other supports to families?

NA: Yes. We work with community partners to connect families to community-based services. We thrive when we empower individuals and families to have the capacity to function independently and to have access to needed resources even after their involvement with the Department has ended. 

FFN: Who does the unit serve, and approximately how many people does that include?

NA: The unit serves approximately 35-40 children who have entered the foster care system, and their families. Each specialist averages a caseload of 8-12 children. 

FFN: What is one thing you want people to know about your unit?

NA: Each member of this unit is hardworking, a team player and passionate about the work they do daily to support the children and families we serve. 

FFN: How can they reach the unit?

NA: Each specialist can be called or emailed directly. In addition, there is always a duty worker available Monday- Friday to address immediate needs. The duty worker can be reached at 703-324-7639. If there are any questions/concerns do not hesitate to contact me at 703-704-6306. 

FFN: When should they reach out to your unit?

NA: We are always available to help and support foster parents. If you have any questions big or small or just need to talk, please call us. We appreciate all that you do and could not do this work without you. 

FFN: What is your favorite thing about the work you do?

NA: My favorite thing about the work I do is seeing children, families and young adults achieve permanency and stability despite adversity. Whether through reunification, relative placement, adoption or a young adult living independently – being able to see a case through is a reminder, on some of the more challenging days, of why I do this work. 

This article posting is part of the Foster Family News monthly newsletter designed to keep foster parents informed about all the new and notable happenings in Fairfax County.

Learn about what the Foster Care & Adoption program has planned for foster families - stay on top of trends, participate in trainings and learn about policy changes.

Back to top

Fairfax Virtual Assistant