On Your Side: Former felon fights to foster child

On Your Side: Former felon fights to foster child

HIGHLAND SPRINGS, VA (WWBT) - A Highland Springs couple is taking on the legislature to become foster parents. The Charity family is a step closer to having the law changed and opening up their home to foster children in need.

Harold Charity was convicted of a so-called barrier crime more than two decades ago,

and since then, he's turned his life around. But, the Department of Social Services says Charity will never be certified as a foster parent unless the law is changed.

He and his wife contacted NBC12 because they felt their senator wasn't taking him seriously.

Charity was convicted of felony drug possession and distribution decades ago when he was in his twenties. Now, he's an upstanding member of his community and the governor even restored his rights. But according to Social Services, the barrier crime code as it stands now bars him from becoming a foster parent.

Charity says it's so important to him, "Because I'm not the person, nowhere near the person that got in trouble 25 yrs ago. I'm not that person anymore. Twenty-five years ago, I was part of the problem, and today I want to be part of a solution to a problem."

Harold Charity and his wife Denise have been fighting for more than year to do just what their last name implies: extend goodwill, love and guidance to foster children who need a home. They say they have experience raising successful children of their own and they even care for a son with special needs.

The Charities said they couldn't convince Sen. Donald McEachin to amend the existing code as remedy which would allow him certification, but it turns out McEachin was further along on presenting a proposal to the General Assembly to change the barrier crime code than what the Charities knew.

While McEachin said he believes Harold Charity is already covered under an existing code that would allow him to become a foster-adoptive parent, he pointed to paperwork that was in the works long before the Charities contacted NBC12.

It's a matter of adding a separate code H since Social Services disagrees with McEachin about the existing code G.

"Clearly, he hasn't been given any relief under G," McEachin said, "I think Social Services is in error for not giving him the relief that he seeks under G, and he is a decent man. What he's trying to do the right thing, and if H helps him, I'm happy to offer H."

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