Department of Family Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

TTY 703-222-9452

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035

Michael A. Becketts,

Giving Parents the Right Tools: African American Parenting Classes and Dads Parenting Groups

(Posted 2020 May; Updated 2021 February)

The Department of Family Services' Parenting Education Programs offers classes that appeal to a broad variety of families with children of all ages from 0-18 years. In addition to our general classes, we offer Spanish language classes and classes with an African American focus.

The African American Parenting Classes offer the same core curriculum as the basic Parenting Education Programs (PEP), with an emphasis on how African American history has affected parenting styles. The curriculum delves into African American history, culture and traditions.

One couple, Heather and Andre, shared how these classes changed their marriage and parenting styles for the better.

“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.

Andre and Heather family photo African American parenting class“These classes help parents/families not only gain the tools needed to be an effective parent, but they also help you truly reflect on where your parenting style comes from. Through this introspective process and class exercises with real world problems all families face, parents are able to gain a better understanding of themselves as well as their kids.

“This understanding in turn helps parents connect with their kids and that family bond is strengthened. As a result, the Active and Just Right parenting style can fully be embraced, which benefits the current children and future generations because negative behaviors/cycles that were passed down to parents are finally able to be broken.

“The team we worked with (Ms. Natalie and Ms. Lisa) are amazing. We took two family classes and my husband, Andre, went on to also take the Dads Parenting Group class. These classes really helped us all. We look forward to coming back for the adolescent class in a couple of years,” said Heather.

Andre shared, "Parental education gives you the tools to become a more understanding, empathetic parent and assists you with educating your child. The African American parenting class for 5-11-year-old kids, has helped me better understand my children. I am very glad I was able to take the PEP classes and Dads Parenting Group offered by Fairfax County."

The next African American parenting class for parents of 5-11 year olds will be offered virtually on Wednesdays 5/19/21 through 8/25/21 from 6-8 p.m.

For more information about the African American parenting class, please call 703-324-3617. If you are interested in registering for other parenting education classes, please check out the schedule online and send an email to 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.

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!

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Fairfax Virtual Assistant