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

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).”

ARC Reflections Classes

ARC Reflections provides caregivers with tools to help children and teens learn to regulate themselves, feel connected, and build strengths.

These classes are offered in English and Spanish.

9-10 sessions

Classes

6/16/21-8/11/21 Wednesdays 6-8 p.m. (Spanish)
This class will be held virtually.
Raiza Barraza 703-324-7745

6/16/21-8/18/21 Wednesdays 6-8 p.m. (Kinship Families)
This class will be held virtually.
Mary Elizabeth 703-324-7870

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

African American Parenting Classes Offered in English

African American Parenting Classes Offered in English

father and mother holding baby - all smilingThe 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

5/19/21-8/25/21 Wednesdays 6-8 p.m. (Parenting Children 5-11 Years of Age)
This class will be held virtually.
Natalie Bailey 703-324-3617; Lisa Payne-Chesley 703-324-7734

Interested and ready to participate in an African American Parenting 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

mother holding up infant childParents 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

4/1/21-7/1/21 Thursdays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Lisa Payne-Chesley 703-324-7734

6/14/21-9/27/21 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 for parenting children ages 0-4? 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

mother sitting with child smilingParents 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

5/24/21-8/27/21 Mondays 6-8 p.m. (Spanish)
This class will be held virtually.
Alba Quinones 703-324-7310

6/1/21-9/7/21 Tuesdays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Natalie Bailey 703-324-3617; Debi Hackney 703-324-7790

8/2/21-11/22/21 Mondays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Debi Hackney 703-324-7790

9/7/21-12/15/21 Tuesdays 6-8 p.m. (Spanish)
This class will be held virtually.
Raiza Barraza 703-324-774; Alba Quinones 703-324-7310

9/13/21-12/20/21 Mondays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Natalie Bailey 703-324-3617

Interested and ready to participate in a class for parenting children ages 5-11? 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

father and son being silly with soccer ballFamily 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

3/2/21-5/25/21 Tuesdays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Natalie Bailey 703-324-3617; Mary Elizabeth 703-324-7870

6/7/21-8/30/21 Mondays 6-8 p.m.
This class will be held virtually.
Marcus Garr 703-324-7737

9/27/21-12/13/21 Mondays 6-8 p.m. (Spanish)
This class will be held virtually.
Alba Quinones 703-324-7310

Interested and ready to participate in a class for parenting children ages 12-18? 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.

Virtual Parent Cafés

Find 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.

2021 Dates

Virtual Parent Cafés – English Speakers

mother and father playing ball with babyEvery 2nd and 4th Monday 7:30-9 p.m. 

Jan. 11, 25
Feb. 8, 22
March 8, 22
April 12, 26
May 10, 24

Virtual Parent Cafés – Spanish Speakers

child laughing hugging over father's shoulderWednesdays 7-8:30 p.m.

Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27

Tuesdays 7-8:30 p.m.

Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23
March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
April 6, 13, 20, 27
May 4, 11, 18, 25
June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
July 6, 13, 20

Virtual Parent Cafés – African American Culturally Focused

three generations of family sitting together on sofaThursdays 6-7:30 p.m.

Feb. 11
Feb. 25
March 11
March 25

Sign up for any Virtual Parent Café by sending an email or call us at 703-324-7720 at least one business day before the Parent Café date listed.

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

two older adults and young child looking at a book togetherKinship Cafés have moved to 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 take place monthly on the second Wednesday between 6:30-8 p.m.

2021 Dates

Jan. 13
Feb. 10
Mar. 10
Apr. 14
May 12
June 9

For more information or to participate in a Virtual Kinship Café, send an email or call 703-324-7720. 

Virtual Kinship 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.

Virtual Kinship Support Groups take place each month on the first and third Thursday between 6:30-8 p.m.

2021 Dates

Jan. 7 and 14
Feb. 4 and 18
Mar. 4 and 18
April 15
May 6 and 20
June 3 and 17

For more information or to participate in a Virtual Kinship Group, send an email or call 703-324-7720.


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!

Parenting 101: African American Culturally Focused Parent Café

Our parent café is a virtual platform where parents and caregivers can share, learn, and find support with raising African American children. Families have a safe space to grow in their parenting skills, explore resources and share wisdom with one another. 

The café starts Thursday, Feb. 11 between 6-7:30 p.m. All Virtual Parent Cafés are open to Fairfax County parents or guardians with children ages 0-18 years old. Sign up by sending an email or call 703-324-7720 to register at least one business day before the Parent Café date. Learn more about Virtual Parent Cafés.

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


Amy with Fifi and SofiaRaising a Relative’s Child? You Are Not Alone

If you are raising a child for a family member or friend, then you are a kinship caregiver. And you are not alone. Kinship caregivers can benefit from training and support groups to help them with the unique concerns that can arise while caring for a relative’s child. Programs like the new ARC Reflections class offered virtually beginning Wednesday, June 16 between 6-8 p.m. can help. If you are interested, learn more about this or send an email or call us at 703-324-7720.


Andre and Heather family photoGiving Parents the Right Tools: African American Parenting Classes and Dads Parenting Groups

“The parenting classes offered through Fairfax County have been a life saver for our family. Looking back at where we were before and how far we have come as a family, is like night and day. These classes helped save our family and our marriage,” said Heather.

Learn more about their story and how to register for classes. The next African American Parenting Classes start Wednesday, May 19, 2021.


parent holding child learning to walkTips for Building Resilience

Getting up and trying again after failing is an act of courage, and children demonstrate this from an early age. How can parents encourage this spirit of resiliency and help it to blossom in their children?

The Parenting Education Programs’ staff has some suggestions.

Learn more parenting tips like these and register for one of our virtual classes at BuildingStrongerFamilies@fairfaxcounty.gov or call us at 703-324-7720.


toddler riding wooden toy and mom sitting and clapping handsBuild Up Your Child’s Self-Esteem through Praise

Praising children is one of the ways that parents can build up a child’s self-esteem and self-worth. Having a strong, positive sense of self is important for a child’s development. Check out these suggestions from our Parenting Education Programs’ staff for how to impact your child’s behavior through praise.Get more parenting tips like these by registering for one of our virtual classes at BuildingStrongerFamilies@fairfaxcounty.gov or call us at 703-324-7720.


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 video, our Father Engagement team members talk about relevant and helpful topics. Check out the current and past 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