HOLMBERG: Should a 23-year-old drug crime bar someone from foster parenting?

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — Harold and Denise Charity want to live up to their last name.

Both have had good experiences with neighbors and relatives being foster parents. They had raised their own children, who are doing well.

“We wanted to give back,” said Harold, a longtime printing firm worker who owns an auto detailing business with his wife.

So they signed up in Henrico County’s foster care program. Harold said he told them about his arrest 23 years ago for possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute it, that he had served his nine months in jail and 10 years of probation, that he had kept his nose clean and had his rights restored by Governor Bob McDonnell two years earlier.

He said he was told that wouldn’t be a problem and in September, the couple started taking classes at Henrico County Social Services so they could be foster parents.

They bought clothes and car seats and decorated their spare bedroom for the little girl they prayed would move in.

Seven weeks into the 10-week class they got the word that they were turned down because of Harold’s conviction 10 years earlier, even though the state foster care guidelines show his crime isn’t a so-called barrier crime that would disqualify them.

They’ve appealed the decision and plan to fight it all the way to the governor’s mansion if necessary. And not just because they feel their rights are being violated.

“We’re not going to give up that easily,” Denise Charity said. “Why is he still being punished? There are too many kinds out here who need a home.”

8 comments

  • athynz

    So the county – or more to the point someone in the county – in their infinite wisdom decides that this couple cannot raise a foster child because of a non-barrier offense and yet raised their own biological children? And tell me HOW this helps children in need of foster care? If he did his time for the crime, has been clean ever since, and his crime is not a barrier crime then what is the issue here?

  • Adrienne Sydnor

    Here, they don’t let you live down your past. Convicted or even charged and not convicted, you will not get anywhere in this state. I hope he makes it to the governor’s mansion with his fight. According to them, he’s not “good enough” to raise a child because of his past, but his money is good enough to either take care of this child’s parent’s and other people living off the system and not working, but getting free money, or paying some other foster family who takes the kids in for the check that they get, not for the love of children.
    VA is going to be known as the “JOKE” state. You can get away with murder, but if you were convicted 10 years ago, AND raised your own kids, you are still not fit enough to raise a kid who needs a family to love.

  • Ethiopia Epiphany

    Henrico has nerve. Social services refused to take any action when parents repeatedly complained about this man mistreating their students. From a Henrico County parent/friend – REPOST, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD: How was this man able to work with our defenseless students with special needs in Henrico Schools, at John Rolfe Middle School, even AFTER having a documented extensive criminal record of NUMEROUS arrests for DUI’s and more that spans years; along with a documented drug abuse problem that resulted in a referral to a drug treatment program, which he did not appear to have completed? Why did the HCPS school board refuse to take action regarding him once they were made aware of the situation and the threat that he posed to innocent children? Instead, they signed an illegal and immoral “confidential” agreement with the district to pay him off and agree that he would never seek employment in HCPS again, but was free to go to another district. The district also, under provision four of the settlement agreement, agreed NOT to refer him to the VADOE for license revocation due to maltreatment of children. It has been reported that he is at another local school because HCPS never took the required actions to have his teaching license revoked. If this man is teaching your child, please inbox us, we can help you. https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Childs-Teacher-Was-Kim-Taylor/120203768050694

  • Tianna Charity

    I don’t agree with an old drug charge holding someone back from being a foster parent. People change, and after 23 years, they would hopefully do so for the better. That is no reason to exclude a family from being suitable parents to a foster child in need… However, I can say that parenting skills need to come into play as far as denial… I would like to say they are capable of being great foster parents, but because I am Harold Charity’s biological child and Denise Charity’s stepdaughter, I cannot bring myself to agree. It APPALLS me to see that he is trying to adopt a child, especially after how he treats me. I am my father’s only daughter and I have no relationship with him. He doesn’t know anything about me, and I might as well be a stranger on the street. He did not raise me, as I do not call just being there “parenting.” I do not believe it would be beneficial for him to have custody of any child, as he so quickly hoisted off his own. The only time I feel my father makes rational decisions is when he has a rational woman in his life… I’m not even going to indulge on that… He already has two biological children, one adopted child, and yet no real relationship with any of us. He has caused nothing but emotional scarring and damage in all our lives. So I ask you, what good can he be for another foster child if he cannot maintain the ones he has?

    Forgive me, I am not trying to bash him, but I cannot see him do the same thing to some other child… They deserve better than that, and we deserved better than that. If he’s looking for a chance to start over, he’s looking in the wrong places..

  • Kerry Anne Davenport Dalton

    I feel for these people. People should not be punished after they have paid for their crimes. Those who continue to cause problems need stiffer sentences and those who have become productive need to be left alone! Please tell me why it is that in VA, those who are convicted of a crime must petition the governor to have their “rights” restored anyway? And how is it that the state can take away your rights provided by the constitution indefinitely even after you have served your time? When someone has paid their debt to society and is released from probation, their rights should automatically be restored. They should not be barred from doing anything because of a charge this old. This state and their stupid laws are a joke and Henrico is an even bigger joke….

  • Sandybritches@yahoo.com

    people read your pass history and hold it against you forever.
    Well i just look at those people that judge me that way and
    hate them back. Lets look at this countrys past. not nice is it?

  • Morning Dew

    I’m slightly confused by the facts. It starts out that his cocaine arrest was 23 years ago, yet he was denied fostering because of his conviction 10 years ago. Is this a second conviction for something else or the first conviction with a time lapse?

  • All_4_Love

    No second conviction. That’s a typo. Everybody is young and dumb at some point in their life. If you say you never were then you’re not being honest with yourself. There are too many children out there that need love and a good home and to deny someone the right to give that to them because of a non- violent crime you committed 23 years ago is ridiculous. Too many kids are placed with people just to get a check. This couple wants to give love to a child and possibly adopt him/her. Everyone deserves a second chance.

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