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 – Videos

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.

Adoptando a Alejandro: el viaje de Gina y Antoinette desde la crianza temporal hasta la adopción (Adopting Alejandro)

Cuando conoces por primera vez a Gina y Antoinette, lo primero que le llama a uno la atención es la calidez y mentalidad abierta que ambas comparten. Estas latinas tienen mucho amor que ofrecer a todos los que las rodean y eso se nota, especialmente en la manera en la que cuidan de su hijo Alejandro. Estas nuevas madres adoptivas están marcando una diferencia en los niños en hogares de acogida.


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.

Meet Sue Christenson

Recognized as the 2022 Foster Parent of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Sue is a retired psychiatric nurse who became a foster parent with Fairfax County in 2008. Her medical knowledge and selfless dedication have been invaluable in caring for medically fragile infants. Sue has supported children as they transition to permanency through reunification, placement with relatives, and adoption and is incredible with bridging the gap with birth parents, relatives, and adoptive parents. We are so grateful to Sue for her years of service. 

The Hardin Family’s Foster Care and Adoption Story

Meet Danita, a retired teacher turned full-time mom who devotes herself to caring for her growing family of eight children. Over time, as it became clear that the children would not be able to return to their birth families, Danita adopted two sets of siblings and one teenager from foster care. She is caring for another child in foster care. In a home overflowing with such love and laughter, there is never a dull moment. Danita Hardin is licensed and supported by our partner organization, For Children’s Sake of Virginia, which offers therapeutic foster care and services for families. We appreciate their partnership in the creation of this video. Learn more about their story and how we help connect children with forever families through adoption.

Meet the Kokotajlos

Congratulations to the Kokotajlos! They’ve been recognized as the 2021 Fairfax County Foster Parents of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). Get to know Scott and Marie Kokotajlo and how they developed supportive, trusting relationships in which children felt safe and nurtured, and the children’s biological family felt at ease. As they moved toward family reunification, the Kokotajlos came alongside the children’s mother and shared parenting strategies they’d found to work well with each child. The children returned home to their mother more than a year ago and both families remain in touch giving further evidence of the strong, caring relationships the Kokotajlos have built with the whole family. 

Meet Foster Parent, Aisha Bigbee

Learn from foster parent, Aisha Bigbee, about developing partnerships with biological parents, forming lasting bonds with children in her care, and the joy she feels when families reunite and kids thrive!

The Morales Family’s Adoption Journey

Today, nearly 200 Fairfax County children are in foster care through the Department of Family Services' Foster Care and Adoption Program. When reunification with the birth family or other relatives is not possible, we seek a permanent home through adoption. Check out this video (Facebook or YouTube) about the journey to adoption for special families like this one who adopted four brothers.

Meet the Dredges

Recognized as the 2020 Fairfax County Foster Parents of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), Danielle and Jesse Dredge have provided Fairfax foster children with stability, structure, nurturing, and connection. The Dredge family has fostered a sibling set of brothers, a teen mother and her child, and a teen male. With each placement they have been influential in how they manage the children’s adjustment to their placement, provide interventions and strategies when children have noted struggles, set clear boundaries, and worked with the child and biological family toward reunification. Get to know them and why they want to make a difference in the lives of children through foster care. 

A Temporary Home Becomes a Permanent Family

Meet Christa, Isabella, Daniel and Tori who became a permanent family through adoption this year. As foster parent to Tori from birth, Christa was ready to adopt the three siblings when it became clear that they would not be able to return home from foster care. Check out the video to learn how we help connect children with forever families through adoption.

Isabella's Adoption Story

Meet the Andersons - 2019 Foster Parents of the Year

Anderson family groupJeffrey and Shannon Anderson have been honored as the 2019 Foster Parents of the Year for Fairfax County by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). The Andersons have eight daughters, six biological and two adopted, ranging in age from 6 months to 12 years months. When they got the call to care for a 6-year-old boy diagnosed with a critical heart condition and in need of a transplant, they didn’t hesitate to open their home and their hearts. Although the boy received a new heart, he encountered significant complications. The Andersons spent sleepless nights in the hospital by his side. Unfortunately, he recently passed away. The Anderson family is devastated as they continue to grieve this terrible loss. In honor of the Andersons’ foster son, COG will donate $2,500 to support medically fragile children within the foster care system. Check out their heartbreaking yet heartwarming story.


Meet the Forbeses


Meet the Connollys


Meet the Kanyugis


Meet the Divelys


Meet the Jacksons






Meet the Zellers - 2018 Foster Parents of the Year

Zeller family group

The Zeller family was honored as the 2018 Foster Parents of the Year for Fairfax County by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The Zellers parented a 2-year-old who joined their family at 14 months of age. Despite facing many personal challenges in the past year, the Zeller family continued to provide exemplary care for the child by being proactive in utilizing professional supports and advocating for the child's needs. The Zellers strive to maintain relationships with children and birth parents whom they have previously fostered. Check out their story!

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