Department of Family Services – Children 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,

Rylynn the Facility Dog's Life at the Department of Family Services

Say hello to Rylynn! Learn more about Rylynn and her role at the Department of Family Services (DFS).

Want to know what Rylynn's up to and her experiences with our community partners? We post a variety of updates and stories to DFS' Facebook and Community Corner. 


Rylynn Supports Students in Body Safety Program

Recently Rylynn, and her facility dog handler, Sam Carrico, visited students at Main Street Child Development Center as part of the Body Safety Program. Instructors with this program use the curriculum, Childhelp® Speak Up Be Safe, to give children a comfortable, non-alarming way to talk about the sensitive and complex problem of child abuse. After learning about the 5 Body Safety Rules, the children and staff loved getting some cuddles from such a sweet pup. Our Body Safety Program is always looking for volunteer instructors to help share this message with children. If you are interested, get more information

(Posted 2022-06-23)

Rylynn with a Body Safety Class   Girl petting Rylynn child and adult petting Rylynn Sam and Rylynn sitting


Rylynn wearing graduation cap graphicHappy Gotcha Day, Rylynn!

We are celebrating Rylynn’s Gotcha Day! One year ago on May 13, 2021, Rylynn and her handler Sam Carrico graduated as a facility dog team from Canine Companions and Rylynn joined Children, Youth and Families in the Child Protective Services’ Sexual Abuse Unit.

Over the last year, Rylynn has made her mark! She has assisted in two forensic interviews, three Body Safety Classes, 20 court appearances, 36 mandated reporter trainings, six facility dog trainings, one yappy hour, and two photo shoots! Join us in congratulating Rylynn on completing a pawsitively awesome year on the job and wishing her and Sam many more!

(Posted 2022-05-13)

Sam Carrico and Rylynn in recording studioCounty Conversation Podcast Featuring Sam Carrico and Rylynn

On Wednesday, March 23, County Conversation Host Jim Person interviewed Sam Carrico, Child Protective Services Supervisor with the Fairfax County Department of Family Services’ Sexual Abuse Unit. Sam explains the work involved in sexual abuse investigations, signs to look for, and what to do if you suspect a child is being abused. Sam also talks about what motivated her to do this work, handling her facility dog, Rylynn, the ways Rylynn supports children during an investigation, and what Rylynn does after work.

(Posted 2022-04-10)

Happy Birthday RylynnHappy Birthday to Rylynn!

Join us in wishing Rylynn a Happy Birthday! She turned 3 years old this week! Rylynn is a great ally and friend to children involved with our Children Youth and Families Division. Fun fact! Rylynn loves to cuddle, playing with her lamb chop toy and eating all her vegetables! You can learn more about Rylynn and her work in DFS.

(Posted 2022-03-10)

Rylynn laying downRylynn’s First Forensic Interview at SafeSpot

Guess who aced her first forensic interview at SafeSpot Children’s Advocacy Center of Fairfax? Rylynn handled it like the pro she is! Part of Rylynn’s job as a facility dog with DFS is providing caring support to children during the difficult process of a child abuse investigation. Because the forensic interviewer must remain impartial, Rylynn’s calm loving presence can help children overcome their anxiety about sharing their experiences and make the situation more bearable for them. You can learn more about Rylynn and her work in DFS.

(Posted 2022-02-23)

Rylynn laying next to air-filled holiday police SantaWork During the Howl-idays

Ho, ho, ho! Yule never guess who was “merry” happy to see Santa on the job at the Herndon Police Department! Rylynn definitely made Santa’s nice list after waiting patiently to help her handler Sam Carrico with mandated reporter training. Learn more about Rylynn.

(Posted 2021-12-15)

DogFest 2021 Features Fairfax County Family Services' Facility Dog Team

Department of Family Services’ Children, Youth and Families’ facility dog pair, Sam Carrico and Rylynn presented at Canine Companions® DogFest Washington DC 2021. Check out the work Rylynn is doing to provide comfort and paw-sitive reinforcement for families going through a ruff time.

(Posted 2021-12-01)

Rylynn Gets Recertified

Rylynn had a paw-sitively fur-bulous week! After passing her Canine Companions recertification exam alongside her best buddy Virgil from SafeSpot, the two dogs had some well-deserved playtime and rest time! Rylynn also spent time interacting with some Fairfax County Police Department victim services specialists prepping for court! Learn more about Rylynn.

(Posted 2021-11-24)

Rylynn with Fairfax County Police Department victim specialists two staff Rylynn and Virgil outside of SafeSpot office Rylynn laying with Virgil

Rylynn Attends Canine Companions® DogFest Washington DC 2021

DFS Children, Youth and Families’ facility dog pair, Sam Carrico and Rylynn were speakers at Canine Companions® DogFest Washington DC 2021. This event for furry friends and their families included fun festivities, canine contests, dog demonstrations, and stories of real graduate teams, like Sam and Rylynn, who live and work in and around Washington D.C. Learn more about Rylynn.

(Posted 2021 -10-26)

Rylynn laying in front of Building Stronger Families table Rylynn sitting

Rylynn and Sam in between two inflatable dogs Rylynn resting on bed

Rylynn sitting on a bench with Yesenia Soto-GuzmanRylynn's First Months at  the Department of Family Services

In her first months working as a facility dog, Rylynn has given comfort, affection, and loving support to several children and families going through a difficult time. She is an excellent hugger and loves to practice for her job. Learn more about Rylynn.

(Posted 2021-10-20)

Rylynn Cuddles Up to the Police at Mandated Reporter Trainings

Thursday, Aug. 26 is National Dog Day and we’re celebrating Rylynn, the Children, Youth and Families’ facility dog and the supportive role she plays in the department’s work. Rylynn has been attending Mandated Reporter Training, and this week she has been cuddling up to police officers with Fairfax County Police Department the Franconia Station B Side and social work students at George Mason University. 

Mandated reporters are people who, in their professional or official capacity, are required by state law to make a report to Child Protective Services if they have reason to suspect that a child is being abused or neglected. This training is one of the ways our staff is equipping our partners to prevent and report child abuse in Fairfax County.

(Posted 2021-08-25)

Rylynn at Mandated Reporter Training sitting with two police officers Rylynn at Mandated Reporter Training presentation Rylynn at Mandated Reporter Training GMU campus

screenshot of video - Rylynn barkingRylynn Reminds Us to Help Take Care of Children

Rylynn wants you to know that our Child Protective Services 24-hour HOTLINE is a HELP Line.

We all need help taking care of our children. Please call 703-324-7400, TTY 711 if you:

• Are concerned about a child's well-being.
• Want to report or discuss a possible abuse or neglect situation.
• Want advice, counseling, resources or help.

(Posted 2021-08-11)

Rylynn napping in wall bedRylynn Practices Self-Care

Rylynn is a strong supporter of self-care, and naps are one of her favorite ways to take care of herself. Learn more about Rylynn the facility dog.




Community Partners Provide Toys and Supplies for Rylynn

Thanks to those in the community who have partnered with us to provide support and donate toys and supplies for Rylynn, the facility dog who recently joined our staff! Rylynn has been expertly bred and trained by Canine Companions® to work with children involved in an investigation. She brings them much needed love and a paw to hold. Learn more about Rylynn.

(Posted 2021-07-14)

Rylynn at home laying on pink bed  Rylynn with variety of toys  Rylynn at Pennino office laying on taupe bed next to dog crate

Rylynn looing at cicadas in grassRYLYNN THE FACILITY DOG'S FIRST MONTH OF WORK

In her first month working as a facility dog, Rylynn is getting adjusted to her new environment – including finding cicadas everywhere!

She is just getting started with providing support to children and families going through a difficult time.

Rylynn is a valuable part of our team in Children, Youth and Families, and we look forward to her long career with us. 

Learn more about Rylynn the facility dog.

(Posted 2021-06-23)




Rylynn resting on Samantha Carrico's lap posing graduation photoLearn About Rylynn the Facility Dog

Want to know more about Rylynn, the 2-year-old Labrador Golden Retriever Mix, who recently joined our staff?

Our facility dog, Rylynn, has been expertly bred and trained by Canine Companions® to work with children.

Check out this article to learn more about how she is providing emotional support to children involved with Child Protective Services.

(Posted 2021-06-09)





Rylynn wearing bandana sitting next to flagMeet Rylynn, Children, Youth and Families' New Facility Dog

We're excited to announce that our first furry four-legged staff member has joined the Children, Youth and Families Division!

Our new facility dog, Rylynn, is a 2-year-old Labrador Golden Retriever Mix. She has received extensive training by Canine Companions® and will provide emotional support to children and their families throughout a sexual abuse investigation. Rylynn will help reduce trauma and decrease the re-victimization of the children and families we serve.

Like and Follow @FairfaxCountyFamilyServices on Facebook for more updates on Rylynn, and her experiences with our community partners.

(Posted 2021-06-02)


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