Tennessee Tribune Newspaper Tennessee Tribune Bldg. 1501 Jefferson Street Nashville, TN 37207
Dear State Senator Jeff Yarbro:
One of my reporters has been looking into a case that involves DCS and a Juvenile Court Judge, who are keeping two pre-school age children from their mother who wants them back.
DCS took the children from her in January 2020. She has had supervised visits with them every other weekend since October 2020. We will not disclose any more details publicly. If you are not aware of the case, ask your staff to fill you in.
We are holding the story because publishing it now could antagonize both DCS and the judge and adversely affect the Mother’s chances of getting her children returned to her.
I am not writing you about a subpar DCS investigation or about the judge’s handling of the case. Those details will follow when the story is published.
The Tennessee Tribune asked your staff to forward information to you so perhaps you would intervene. After telling my reporter they would do that, instead they shared information from The Tennessee Tribune Newspaper with DCS.
A member of your staff told the Tennessee Tribune reporter they shared everything they had with DCS and intended to keep doing so. He seemed proud to share relevant information from the Tennessee Tribune’s facts in our investigation by sharing it with the very Agency we were investigating.
It is a provable fact that your people became part of the problem and not part of a solution. According to your staff, they have been unable to get information on the case from DCS.
DCS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols testified at a February 9th hearing of the Children and Family Affairs Subcommittee and Representative Torrey Harris told Nichols about a constituent who called him every couple of weeks about a DCS case in Memphis.
This is what she told him: “Always know that if you’re getting calls from someone I hope that you would feel very comfortable picking up the phone and calling me and letting us work through it with you and look and see what’s going on. I know we’ve done that with other members that are– we’re looking at several of them right now and we’ve been able to help.”
A phone call to Nichols could at least get the case venue changed. Neither parent lives in the county that has jurisdiction and they have to drive an hour to attend court hearings. The DCS workers assigned to the case are distant from the parents and their families, their jobs, children, school, medical appointments, etc.
It is apparent that your staff has not communicated with you after repeated requests from the Tennessee Tribune Newspaper and this letter publicly suggests a way to move the case forward.
Rosetta Miller-Perry Publisher and Editor of the Tennessee Tribune