Department of Family Services – Children, Youth and Families

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

BeFriend-A-Child Program

What is the BeFriend-A-Child Program?

A volunteer mentoring program for over 40 years, BeFriend-A-Child provides opportunities for companionship, guidance and support to children who have been abused and neglected or who are at risk of abuse and neglect.

"This is one of the best things I've seen from the County!" Shared by a father about how a BeFriend-A-Child mentor has positively impacted his child's life.

Through mentoring, BeFriend-A-Child hopes to reduce some of the child abuse and neglect "risk factors" - social isolation, lack of support, and family stress; and to enhance various "protective factors" - positive self-esteem, good social skills, hobbies, interests, and good peer relationships. BeFriend-A-Child can also help encourage youth (with strong parental involvement) to make healthy life decisions and to achieve their potential.

By connecting at-risk youth with professionally supported, caring adult mentors, BeFriend-A-Child strives to create a community where children feel more confident and motivated to make informed, responsible life choices and become productive, involved members of the community.

"I had expressed some concern about my son’s behavior in school. My son’s mentor met with my son, on Wednesday and that Thursday and Friday my son gave up two recess times to get caught up on his overdue work. His teacher was so impressed with his behavior and his positive attitude. The mentor has truly made a difference in my son’s life. I am so grateful for this program and of course the mentor!!" -Parent of elementary school-aged child

How Does it Work?
  • Children from ages 5-12 years whose families are involved with the county's Children, Youth and Families Division are referred by their family's CYF worker.
  • Children are matched one-on-one with trained volunteer mentors.
  • Mentors spend one-on-one time with their mentees.
  • The mentors and mentees participate in monthly group outings throughout the year, such as:
    • Sporting Activities.
    • Arts, Crafts and Music.
    • Educational Programs.
    • Community Service Projects.
    • Annual celebrations (Family Picnic, Holiday Party, Celebrate Fairfax).
How Can You Help?

Become a Mentor

After volunteers apply and are accepted as mentors, training is provided to prepare them for various aspects of child development.

Mentors must be able to make a two-year commitment, spending at least eight hours every month with their mentee and participating in monthly group outings at least once per quarter.

Male applicants and bilingual English-Spanish speakers are highly encouraged to apply.

For more information, contact one of the BeFriend-A-Child coordinators by email or call 703-324-7072. 

Learn more about the application process and criteria for becoming a volunteer with the BeFriend-A-Child Program. Apply to volunteer today!

Mentor and Mentee Monthly Activities 2022

Thank you to all of our volunteers, partners and sponsors!

  • January - Bowling
  • February - African American History Museum Tour
  • March - George Mason University Tour
  • April - Egg Hunt
  • May - Family Picnic
  • June - Body Safety Presentation and Zumba Class
  • July - Kings Dominion
  • August - Water Mine Water Park
  • September - American Ninja Warrior
  • October - Woodworking 
  • November - Hike
  • December - Story and Crafts with Santa

screenshot of virtual paint party   dance party instructor

screenshot virtual paint party

Harmony Road musiciansvirtual dance party - screenshot of people dancing

Our Volunteers

“I can say without reservation that volunteering with this program has forever changed and deepened my life. I will remain eternally grateful for having had this opportunity and feel proud to have been part of such as excellent program." BeFriend-A-Child mentor

“E-mentoring is incredibly important during these difficult times. Reaching out to give children hope and affirmation for better times ahead teaches us all to maintain optimism and to make productive use of difficult circumstances.” Scott, BeFriend-A-Child mentor

Fairfax Virtual Assistant