Department of Family Services

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

Michael A. Becketts,

Helping Children Identify Their Safe Adults

(Posted 2022 July)

As parents or positive role models in children’s lives, we may often assume that children already know which adults are safe to talk to when they feel scared or threatened. The Department of Family Services’ Body Safety program assures you that it is a conversation worth having. Especially over the summer, it is important to make sure that children are safe in the community and know who to go to when they may feel unsafe or uncomfortable. 

What Makes a Safe Adult?

multicultural kidsChildren need to understand that it’s always an adult’s responsibility to keep them safe. Talk to your children about the characteristics of a safe adult. Explain to children that safe adults are grown-ups who:

  • Take care of them.
  • Make sure that they are safe.
  • Listen to them.
  • Can be trusted.
  • Don’t hurt or abuse them. 

Help children think of a list of names of adults who make them feel safe and secure. 

The Body Safety Program Builds Safety Skills

Two adults eating with childrenWe understand that it might be challenging for families to start the conversation with children about safe adults, unsafe situations, and body safety rules. The Body Safety Program is designed to help parents and safe adults learn kid-friendly language to use when talking with children about these sensitive subjects.

The Body Safety Program is taught FREE of charge for children in Pre-K to sixth grade. It is an educational program that focuses on building safety skills within the child, preparing them to identify risks such as: child abuse, bullying, and internet safety. 

The curriculum, Childhelp® Speak Up Be Safe, focuses on enhancing the child’s overall sense of confidence with regard to safety and promotes respect for self and peers that can be applied to general as well as potentially harmful situations. The children learn 5 key safety rules, which include helping them to identify who their specific safe adults are and when to speak up and talk to them. 

Virtual Classes are Available Throughout the Summer 

two adults with child at laptopThe Body Safety Program is now offering virtual classes to any Pre-K through sixth grade students living in Fairfax County. The virtual classes are typically taught over Zoom and last approximately 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the grade of the child. They can be taught individually or as a family unit and scheduled based on your family’s availability.

Classes are currently offered in English and Spanish, and parents/caregivers are encouraged, but not required to join and participate. Parents/caregivers receive an information sheet with the 5 safety rules, additional tips on the topic, a list of recommended body safety books to read with children and a certificate of completion for the child(ren). 

If you are interested in learning more about or scheduling a virtual class(es) in the summer, contact Francesca Watson by email, or call 703-324-7459.  

We hope that you join us for more information about positive and effective ways parents can interact with their children at every age and stage of development. We would love to hear from you. If you have questions or feedback about the topic in this article, send an email to us.

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.

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