Department of Family Services

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
Michael A. Becketts

DFS Spotlight: Keesha Coke

(Posted 2023 March)

Meet Keesha!

Keesha CokePosition: Assistant Division Director, Domestic and Sexual Violence Services

In my role, I manage Domestic and Sexual Violence Services’ volunteer, crisis services (hotlines and hospital accompaniment), data analytics, and administrative teams. The position came about while we were drafting our strategic plan, when we looked at deficiencies with how we do the work. In addition, I’m a support to Toni Zollicoffer, the division director, which allows her to be more forward facing in the community.

There’s no such thing as a typical day. I support staff, help resolve crises, support processes and systems for our crisis services. It’s a lot of project management and process improvement to make sure we have the tools we need to do our job, including technology, equipment, and resources for increasing our knowledge. It requires really looking at strengthening our systems and planning our work. Of course, there’s lots of collaboration with others. I’m the DSVS equity lead to One Fairfax, which involves learning about equity and bringing the information back to DSVS staff so we can advance equity within the division.

What’s interesting about my career is that I never wanted to be a social worker. I always knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to understand human behavior better, to help people understand each other better. Folks were hurting emotionally, and I wanted to try to help them through life’s stressors. That’s why I got my undergrad degree in psychology. My plan was to be a therapist.

To pay for grad school, I got a job in Foster Care & Adoption in Fairfax County. That’s when I found out what a vast field social work was. I had a misunderstanding of what the field was. Two of my undergraduate professors encouraged me to study social work, but I had a misconception of social work and thought it was only supporting people with obtaining public assistance and removing children from their homes, neither of which I was interested in doing. The blessing was getting the social worker job in FC&A and realizing I could still accomplish what I wanted to accomplish with a master’s in social work. That has led me to this career I love. I love social work! This is absolutely what I’m meant to do. For somebody who was just going to get money for grad school. ...

I do this work because I crave a challenge. I came to the county in 2000 and have worked primarily in the Department of Family Services. I did very short stints with Community Services Board and Neighborhood and Community Services but always found my way back to DFS. 

In DFS, I’ve had opportunities to lead a countywide team focused on equity. I collaborated with all the human services agencies and Fairfax County Public Schools on a project that helped children increase attendance and improve academically. My work in DFS has allowed me to be creative in developing a parenting education curriculum with a focus on African American culture as an alternative to the general parenting curriculum for parents with African American children and to help acknowledge the systemic reasons for the disproportionate number of African American children in foster care. I’ve had the opportunity to be innovative in my current role, leading the DSVS crisis line project, where we implemented upgraded telephone technology for a stronger response to callers as well as upgraded efficiency.

There’s always an opportunity to educate the public. You’re an ambassador to educate your friends, family, your circle, and the community about resources, dynamics, and misconceptions.

Working for DFS allows me to scratch my professional itch. I talk the county up to everyone. It has its strengths and areas for development. I was only going to work here to earn enough money to go to grad school. I could work part-time in the county and get my masters in social work. I thought I’d leave after grad school because I didn’t think government employment was for me. But the county has been good to me. I obtained my clinical license through the county. I have also had opportunities to supervise. It’s always been important to me to be well rounded as a clinician. That’s why I sought opportunities to participate on projects and on teams to help continue to develop me as a social worker. DFS has allowed me to meet all my goals!

It also affords me a work-life balance. Despite the sometimes heavy workload, I find time for the things I enjoy. I love traveling. Having grown up in the military (Keesha’s dad was in the Air Force), I got the travel bug there. My husband and I typically take one trip abroad a year and then a couple trips domestically. I love learning. If I could be paid to be a full-time student, I would. I watch documentaries and half-hour sitcoms, which allows me to escape the realities of the day-to-day work. I pray. I try to work out. I journal. I make sure I have time for me.

That’s why I’m such an advocate for working in DFS. They’re an awesome group. People who come here to work will automatically feel connection and appreciation. We support one another. And we’re helping people in crisis; we’re helping people at their most vulnerable moment. Come here to work and you’ll be contributing to helping individuals and families meet their goals. And helping strengthen them. You’ll be a part of something great and have opportunities to continue that greatness.

Join our team to discover why I enjoy working with DFS so much.

Join Us: Work for DFS

Learn more about the value of working with Fairfax County Department of Family Services.

This posting is part of the Department of Family Services' Community Corner where you’ll find timely information about upcoming events, parenting and wellness tips, programs and services, and more! Share these helpful posts with your friends and family. Don't miss out on future postings! Sign up today!

For media inquiries, contact Department of Family Services' Public Information Officer Amy Carlini by email, office phone 703-324-7758 or mobile phone 571-355-6672.

Back to top

Fairfax Virtual Assistant