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

Parenting Education Programs

Operating Status for DFS Programs and Services – Skip the Trip and Get Assistance from a Distance Online or By Phone

Skip the Trip - Continue to Receive Assistance from a Distance Online or By Phone

DFS cares about the safety and well-being of individuals and families and we are still here for you. Although most of our services are not being provided in-person at this time, we continue to offer services online and by phone.

Skip the trip! Learn more about our Assistance from a Distance – the variety of services available to you without having to leave the safety of your home.


Stay connected with the Department of Family Services (DFS):


Get the most up-to-date information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Fairfax County.

Parenting Education Programs (PEP)

The Department of Family Services offers FREE parenting education classesvirtual parent cafés, videos and articles. These services help families develop important skills to grow healthy relationships with their children.


Parenting Education Classes

These free classes teach positive and effective ways parents can interact with their children at every age and stage of development. They help families to:

  • Understand what to expect from children at different developmental stages and ages (0-18 years).
  • Build strong, positive, respectful relationships between all family members.
  • Take charge of their own feelings and behaviors, and communicate in non-threatening ways.
  • Handle stress and anger better, and find alternatives for yelling and spanking.

About Virtual and In-Person Classes

About Virtual Classes

The Parenting Education Programs is offering assistance from a distance with online parenting classes. If you are interested in registering for a virtual class, please check out the schedule below and email us with the age range you are interested in, 0-4 years, 5-11 years or 12-18 years, and a staff person will invite you to the next available online class. You can also contact us by phone by calling 703-324-7720.

Our classes meet the parent education guidelines developed by the Supreme Court of Virginia. If class requirements are completed, a certificate of completion is awarded during the last class.

About In-Person Classes

Families enrolled in the in-person programs can relax knowing that each class includes child care and an evening meal for all participants. All family members have age appropriate instruction to help with building strong, positive, respectful relationships within the family.

Our classes meet the parent education guidelines developed by the Supreme Court of Virginia. If class requirements are completed, a certificate of completion is awarded during the last class.

Participants' Testimonials

“The program surpassed expectations, and I applied several methods and techniques that directly and positively impacted my relationships with my children and our overall home environment.”

“Great class and awesome facilitators. [The class] has helped my son and his behaviors have noticeably improved as a result of implementing the things we learned here into our lives.”

“This class was great! Everything that I learned and put into practice has worked. I have a better system with rules and consequences at home. All the techniques (negation, privileges, compliments) have helped me to have a better understanding and relationship with my kids. The classes have also helped my kids open up to me and understand our new routine of parenting with love.”

“I’m a new mom and I feel I’m doing a great job because of them (PEP).”

African American Parenting Classes Offered in English

African American Parenting Classes Offered in English

The core curriculum is the same as the basic Parenting Education Programs but it also emphasizes how African American history has affected the parenting style for African Americans. This curriculum delves into African American history, culture, and traditions.

These African American culturally-focused classes are offered in English.

12-13 sessions (depending on the curriculum used)

Classes

There is no class at this time. Please check back again.


Interested and ready to participate in a class? Contact Parenting Education by email, phone at 703-324-7720 or contact the name listed in the class information.

0-4 Age Range Parenting Classes Offered in English and Spanish

0-4 Age Range Parenting Classes Offered in English and Spanish

Parents learn to recognize and understand feelings; nurturing parenting routines; infant massage; child development; and ways to foster positive self esteem in themselves and their children. Uses the Active Parenting Curriculum.

These classes are offered in English and Spanish.

14 sessions

Classes

10/15/20-2/11/21 Thursdays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Janet Little 703-324-7501

2/1/21-5/3/21 Mondays 6-8 p.m. (Spanish)
This class will be held virtually.
Raiza Barraza 703-324-7745


Interested and ready to participate in a class? Contact Parenting Education by email, phone at 703-324-7720 or contact the name listed in the class information.

5-11 Age Range Parenting Classes Offered in English and Spanish

5-11 Age Range Parenting Classes Offered in English and Spanish

Parents and children learn to increase their empathy, discover new ways to encourage appropriate behaviors, build positive self-concept and self-esteem, and learn how to have fun as a family. Uses the Nurturing Parenting Curriculum. View the schedule of classes.

These classes are offered in English and Spanish.

13 sessions

Classes

8/24/20-12/7/20 Mondays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Lisa Payne-Chesley 703-324-7734; Debi Hackney 703-324-7790

9/14/20-12/14/20 Mondays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Marcus Garr 703-324-7737

9/14/20-12/14/20 Mondays 6-8 p.m. (Spanish)
This class will be held virtually.
Mario Prada 703-324-7405; Alba Quinones 703-324-7310

10/13/20-2/2/21 Tuesdays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Debi Hackney 703-324-7790


Interested and ready to participate in a class? Contact Parenting Education by email, phone at 703-324-7720 or contact the name listed in the class information.

12-18 Age Range Parenting Classes Offered in English and Spanish

12-18 Age Range Parenting Classes Offered in English and Spanish

Family members learn nurturing communication strategies, how to recognize each other’s needs, how to understand the developmental stages of adolescence, and ways to build their own personal power, self-concept and self-esteem. Uses the Active Parenting Curriculum for Spanish classes. Uses the Nurturing Parent Curriculum for English classes. View the schedule of classes.

These classes are offered in English and Spanish.

12 sessions

Classes

9/30/20-12/16/20 Wednesdays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Marcus Garr 703-324-7737


Interested and ready to participate in a class? Contact Parenting Education by email, phone at 703-324-7720 or contact the name listed in the class information.

Video - Overview of Parenting Education Classes 

 


Virtual Parent Cafés - A Community of Support for Parents

Join a community of support among other parents handling similar situations during these stressful times. Virtual Parent Cafés is a great way for parents to learn from each other as they grow in their parenting skills.

Topics and Upcoming Cafés

parent and child working in kitchenFind a community of support among other parents handling similar situations during these stressful times. Virtual Parent Cafés is a great way for parents to learn from each other as they grow in their parenting skills.

Topics include discipline, self-care, and family rules. All Virtual Parent Cafés are open to Fairfax County parents or guardians with children ages 0-18 years old.

Join us on:

  • Mondays 7:45-9:15 p.m. for English speakers.
  • Wednesdays 7-8:30 p.m. for Spanish-speaking families.
  • Thursdays 6:30-8 p.m. with an African American Cultural Focus.

Sign up by sending an email or call us at 703-324-7720 at least one business day before the Parent Café. We look forward to you joining us!

Learn more about this community of support for parents handling similar situations during these stressful times.


Kinship Caregivers Support

Are you raising a child for a family member or friend? If you answered “yes,” you are a kinship caregiver. We offer support to kinship families through Virtual Kinship Cafés and Support Groups that help build a community network among kinship caregivers.

Virtual Kinship Cafés

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.

Virtual Kinship Cafés are scheduled Wednesdays, Sept. 23 and Oct. 28, 6:30-8 p.m.

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!

Virtual Support Groups

older adult holding young grandchild outsideAre you raising a child for a family member or friend? If you answered “yes,” you are a kinship caregiver, and you are not alone.

Support groups provide encouragement and foster a sense of community among kinship caregivers. Groups have moved to a virtual format meeting on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8 p.m. For more information or to participate, send an email or call 703-324-7720.

2020 Dates
Sept. 1
Sept. 15
Oct. 6
Oct. 20
Nov. 3|
Nov. 17
Dec. 1
Dec. 15

September is Kinship Care Awareness Month

Join us in recognizing and celebrating the importance of kinship caregivers and the children they are raising in stable, loving and nurturing households. Learn more.

Kinship Care Awareness Month banner graphic


Parenting 101 Video

Check out our video series Parenting 101. Parenting Education Programs' Natalie Bailey answers your most pressing frequently asked parenting questions about discipline, self-care, family routines and more!

Praise
Staff explains the importance of setting expectations for your children’s behavior and why you should praise them for keeping it up.(YouTube, Facebook)

Check back for new videos. Catch-up on all of the Parenting 101 videos.


Parenting Tips and Resources

You Are Not Alone African Amercian Virtual Parent Cafes English graphicNew Virtual Parent Café Offered with African American Cultural Focus

Join us for a new African American Culturally Focused Virtual Parent Café starting on Thursday, Sept. 10. Parenting Education Programs' Virtual Parent Cafés are a great way for parents with children of all ages to learn from each other as they grow in their parenting skills. Note: Please register at least one business day before the Parent Café. Learn more now and get signed up for later!


back of child looking downWe All Need to Help Protect Children During COVID-19

COVID-19 has turned everyone’s lives upside down. The isolation has caused many families to lose their support networks, which has been especially stressful for families with children. As a result, some children may be at higher risk of harm. Others may not be safe because there isn’t a responsible adult who can watch or take care of them. Learn more about what to consider if you suspect child abuse, how to make a report, and resources to help


Pocket Dad video graphic logoRelevant and Helpful Topics for Fathers

Fathers, like mothers, play a significant role in their children’s psychological and emotional development. Positive father involvement contributes directly to children’s well-being, safety and stability. Through each Pocket Dad videos, our Father Engagement team members talk about relevant and helpful topics. Check out all of the videos.


volunteer adults and kidsVolunteer with the Parenting Education Programs

Opportunities include:
Facilitating parenting sessions.
Providing a location for classes.
Preparing or serving a meal for participants.
Helping to promote the classes in the community.
Learn more.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant