Department of Family Services – Children, Youth 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,

September is Kinship Care Awareness Month

Kinship Care Awareness Month 2022 Keeping Children Connected to Family

Nearly three million children in the United States, nearly 70,000 children in Virginia, and nearly 4,000 children in Fairfax County, are being raised in kinship care by grandparents, relatives, or close family friends when their parents are unable to do so.

When children must be separated from their parents, kinship care 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.

Fairfax County recognizes the importance of kinship caregivers. In keeping with The Family First Prevention Services Act, we are committed to making sure that children who are separated from their parents and enter foster care are placed in family-like settings (kinship care, foster care).

Fairfax County partners with public and private organizations to prioritize a kin-first culture where children are raised within their families whenever possible. We celebrate kinship families for their strengths and expertise and help to connect kinship families with evidence-based, trauma-informed services, resources, trainings and supports focused on kinship families’ needs. Learn more about these services.

2020 American Community Survey indicates that over 3082 grandparents in Fairfax responsible for raising children

Kinship Caregiver Stories

adult with child hugging outsideWe asked some of our kinship caregivers to share with us about their experiences caring for the children of relatives. These families open up about how full their hearts are, how rewarding it is to see the children growing, thriving, and responding to their love and support, and the unexpected benefits of drawing extended family closer together in the process of providing support. Families also share about adapting to being a primary caregiver later in life, the challenge of finding child care and the need for so much flexibility. Learn more about why kinship caregiving is an experience like no other.

Fall Virtual Kinship Cafés Scheduled

two older adults and young child looking at a book togetherKinship Cafés will begin meeting again virtually this fall. 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. Kinship Cafés are free and meet the first Wednesday and third Thursday of each month. The first sessions are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 15, and Wednesday, Oct. 5. Check our website as additional upcoming dates are scheduled. To sign up for a Kinship Café, please email or call us at 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 2022 as Kinship Care Awareness Month in Fairfax County. Learn more about the proclamation.

2019 Kinship Awareness Month Proclamation Group Photo
2019 Kinship Awareness Month Proclamation Group Photo

Kinship Resources

Learn more about Department of Family Services' Kinship.

Formed Families Forward
Our partners have compiled a variety of resources that can help kinship caregivers with navigating the basics of kinship care, working with the schools, custody, adoption and other issues.

State of Grandfamilies 2020
This report provides valuable data about the demographics of kinship families, and the impact that COVID-19 has had in their lives. 

Kinship Care
Resources and information from the Child Welfare Information Gateway about kinship care in the United States and its 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.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant