Department of Family Services – Children and Families

Fairfax County, Virginia

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,
Director

September is Kinship Care Awareness Month

Kinship Care Awareness Month banner graphic

Kinship care is when grandparents, aunts and uncles, other relatives, or close family friends, take care of children when their parents are unable to do so due to challenging family situations.

When children must be separated from their parents, placing them with other family members, or close family friends, is often an ideal solution to the situation. It provides children with the opportunity to grow and learn in a supportive, loving, safe home environment while retaining a sense of family, cultural heritage, and community ties.

Nearly 3 million children in the United States and more than 5,000 children in Fairfax County are being raised in kinship care. Kinship caregiving is found in all socioeconomic, educational, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Unfortunately, often the adults in these newly created kinship families, did not expect to become caregivers and they need support.

Fairfax County along with public and private organizations recognize the importance of kinship caregivers and the children they are raising in stable, loving and nurturing households. Fairfax County is committed to helping to connect kinship families with resources, trainings and support groups focused on kinship families’ needs.

2019 American Community Survey indicates that over 3082 grandparents in Fairfax responsible for raising children


Virtual Kinship Cafés Scheduled Thursdays, Sept. 23 and Oct. 28, 2020

adult with child hugging outsideAfter taking a hiatus during this season of social distancing, Kinship Cafés are back in a Virtual format. Kinship Caregivers can talk with others who understand how difficult and joyful it can be raising a child for a family member or friend. Join us to discuss topics such as discipline, self-care, and family rules. You can also find out about community resources that you may not have known existed. Sign up for a Kinship Café by sending an email or call 703-324-7720 at least one business day before the Kinship Café. We look forward to you joining us!


Kinship Proclamation

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, on behalf of all residents of Fairfax County, proclaimed September 2020 as Kinship Care Awareness Month in Fairfax County on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Learn more and check out the video of the proclamation.

2019 Kinship Awareness Month Proclamation group photo
2019 Kinship Awareness Month Proclamation group photo


Virtual Kinship Support Groups

older adult young grandchild outsideTalk with others who understand how difficult and joyful the responsibility of kinship caregiving can be. Find out about community resources you may not have known existed. Held on Thursdays, Sept. 3 and 17 from 6:30-8 p.m. For more information or to participate virtually, send an email or call 703-324-7720.


Kinship Resources

Learn more about Department of Family Services' Kinship.

Formed Families Forward: Respite to Recharge Program
Kinship caregivers in Fairfax and Falls Church are eligible for 10 free hours of childcare per week for up to eight weeks. The program is operated by nonprofit organization Formed Families Forward, with financial support from Healthy Minds Fairfax, a program of Fairfax County. Apply or call 301-246-0149 or email info@formedfamiliesforward.org.

Kinship Care
Resources and information from the Child Welfare Information Gateway about kinship care in the United States and it’s impact in the lives of children.

Partnering With Relatives to Promote Reunification
Relative caregivers may face certain challenges when caring for a family member's children. This factsheet shares stories and advice from caregivers and birth parents who have experienced kinship care and many lessons learned.

Kinship Care: Exploring Options for Relatives of Children in Foster Care
This guide can help family members understand what options they may have when a relative child is not able to stay in their home of origin.

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Fairfax Virtual Assistant