County Offers Day Off for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren While Children Enjoy a Day of Backyard Water Play

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In an estimated 3,500 households in Fairfax County, grandparents are raising their grandchildren and, in many cases, have little opportunity for leisure.

Fairfax County is sponsoring a Kinship Respite Day on Saturday, August 15, to provide grandparents (and other relatives) who are raising a child for another family member a rare day off while providing a fun day for the children.  The children will enjoy planned water activities with the theme, “A Day of Backyard Water Play – Let the Learning Flow.”  Children ages 3 -12, who are residents of Fairfax County or the cities of Fairfax or Falls Church, can participate in the free program.

This event will be held from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at two locations – the Gum Springs Community Center (8100 Fordson Rd., Alexandria, VA 22306), and at the Mott Community Center (12111 Braddock Rd., Fairfax, VA 22030).

There is no cost for the Kinship Respite Day, but pre-registration is required by Monday, August 10.  Lunch and snacks will be provided. 

For more information or to register, call the Department of Family Services’ Fairfax Area Agency on Aging at 703-324-3517, TTY 703-449-1186.   For reasonable ADA accommodations, contact Nancy Coffey with the Department of Family Services Children, Youth and Families Division at 703-324-7723, TTY 703-222-9452.

The county’s departments of Community and Recreation Services, Family Services, Systems Management for Human Services, Fairfax County Public Schools, and the Kinship Care Committee of Fairfax County are jointly sponsoring the event.

In addition to the respite day for relatives who are raising a child for another family member, the schools and other county departments have published a Kinship Care Resource Guide and are sponsoring two ongoing support groups. 

The Resource Guide is available on the Fairfax County Web site at or in hard copy by calling the DFS publications manager at 703-324-5870, TTY 703-222-9452.  The guide contains more than 100 pages of helpful information including child care services, financial and legal assistance, safety information, educational services, resources for children with special needs, services for older adults, community recreation resources and much more.


The support groups are open to any grandparents or other relatives raising children under age 18. The sessions are free and child care is provided.  Pre-registration is required.  The North County Grandparents Support Group meets on designated Tuesdays from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at the Pennino Building (12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035).  The South County Grandparents Support Group meets on designated Thursdays from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at Bryant Alternative High School (2709 Popkins Lane, Alexandria, VA 22305). 


To register for a support group, contact Robin Hamby, Fairfax County Public Schools, 703-277-2640; Colleen Turner, Fairfax County Department of Family Services, at 703-324-5489; or the Kinship registration line at 703-324-5401; TTY 703-449-1186.


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