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Foster parent says Social Services investigation long overdue

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–After CBS 6 uncovered an investigation into Richmond’s Department of Social Services, several people with ties to the foster care system have come forward to share their experiences.

“I’m looking at it and I’m saying there’s definitely cause for alarm here,” said former foster parent Manny Ortiz. 

Ortiz works for non-profit that finds abused children permanent homes and was a foster parent for seven years before he adopted the two sets of sibling groups he was fostering.

“I adopted six [kids] out of Richmond city,” said Ortiz. 

Ortiz contends that a state investigation into how Richmond Social Services places its abused children is long overdue and he’s relieved it’s underway. Ortiz claimed that he’s seen firsthand what city leaders were told about by doctors and social workers that abused children are too often left in bad situations.

“You’re only putting the child at exposure again for that same kind of abuse,” said Ortiz. 

Ortiz believes the problem is happening in many localities across the state in part due to an effort to reduce foster care costs but also by way of philosophy that removing children from their parents can sometimes have worse effects than leaving them in a home where abuse may have occurred.

But Ortiz believes it’s putting kids at risk.

“You leave something broken for a while it’s just going to happen over and over,” he said. 

Ortiz said he even saw it in his own children’s cases that were returned to abusive situations over and over. He hopes the investigation will take a hard look at cases like theirs.

“These children are going to be placed back in homes with the same parents, facing the same type of abuse, what type of adults they’re going to be later on in the future,” said Ortiz.

CBS6 asked to speak to the leaders of Richmond Social Services but were told they won’t be available until after the full review is complete, which could take several weeks.

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