RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An update to a controversial adoption story we brought you last week. Harold and Denise Charity have received compensation from Richmond Social Services. Payment arrived one day after our story aired.
You may remember the couples' allegation that a foster baby was removed from their home in retaliation -- because they Called 12 after they refused to adopt the baby's siblings. Richmond Social Services has not commented on the Charity's allegations, citing confidentiality laws which prohibit them from doing so.
Harold and Denise say they feel hurt and betrayed and they're trying to move on. The couple says their calling of fostering to adopt children was never about money. They say they never received any compensation from the Richmond Social Services until last Wednesday, the day after my 12 On Your Side Investigation and five days after I started asking the department questions.
"It's not about us doing it for the money," said Denise Charity. "We want to be this child's mother and father. We want to give her a good home."
They say the child's contentious removal still weighs heavily on their hearts, but they couldn't keep quiet, they say, about a medical condition that they believe Richmond Social Services knew about but failed to disclose.
Here's part of our exchange with the couple on their front porch:
Diane Walker: "What do you think they're holding against you? The fact that you came to Channel 12 or the fact that you are not willing to take all three?"
Harold Charity: "The fact that we came to Channel 12."
Diane Walker: "You regret that?"
Harold and Denise Charity: "No. No."
Denise Charity: "Because it needs to be put out there, how they treat you. Everybody sees the good side. Oh you can be a foster parent to adopt. Everybody sees the good side of them. Nobody sees the bad side and how they not only treat the kids in the system, but how they treat the families that's taking care of the kids, and then they wonder why the kids don't trust."
Richmond DSS won't respond to specific allegations but last week told us that medical assessments are performed prior to a child coming into a home, and in some instances, the department may have limited knowledge of a child's background.
The couple says they feel broken, but they will continue to speak out.
"We are hurt," said Denise Charity. We're not trying to make anyone look bad. We just feel betrayed."
This is hard for them, because they were pioneers in changing Virginia's barrier crime law, which enables people convicted of certain felony offenses to become foster parents. Harold and Denise Charity were praised by members of the Virginia General Assembly two years ago for their exceptional work.
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