NASHVILLE, TN ­– No mother should have to choose between her three older kids and the 4-week-old baby DCS took from her in October 2020. But that was the hard choice Abby West had to make. 

“I think the goal of giving me an attorney in the divorce was to get me to sign the settlement agreement,” said West, mother of 4. The judge awarded West $5,000 to hire a lawyer and $300/month support during the divorce trial. The agreement West ended up signing is not in line with Tennessee case law that gives parents equal time with their children after a divorce. 

But it meant West could start having parenting time with her three older children, so she signed a settlement agreement. She gets them 104 days a year. Her ex-husband has them 261 days. 

“Three months later DCS non-suited Lucy’s case,” West told the Tribune. DCS dropped its prosecution of West after snatching her baby and harassing her for 10 months while the divorce was underway. DCS acted like a meat hunter closing in on wounded prey.

When divorcing parents can’t agree on terms and DCS gets involved, it usually takes Mom’s side; sometimes it takes Dad’s; sometimes DCS takes the kids away from both parents. (See https://tntribune.com/when-charges-fly-kids-end-up-in-foster-care/)

The Tribune has reported about DCS manipulation of police, hospitals, judges, and court proceedings in Tennessee Juvenile and District courts. (See https://tntribune.com/black-father-fights-to-be-a-dad/)

In a Montgomery County DCS case, Ralph Ulysses has gotten two judges to recuse themselves because they refused to hear a motion to remove a restraining order that should have been heard by October 2020 and is still in effect. Ulysses has not seen or talked to his daughter since Feb 2021. 

He returns to court next month. Ulysses hopes Juvenile Court Judge Wayne Shelton will vacate the restraining order and change the venue to Davidson County. Abby West has already been there and it was no easy walk in the park. 

“My divorce and custody battle definitely had an effect on Lucy’s case. That could be why DCS responded so dramatically and rushed in they way they did,” West said.

The DCS case against West started September 11, 2020. DCS investigator Sylvia Vanderbilt went to West’s home in Donelson to tell her traces of methamphetamine were found in Lucy’s umbilical cord.

Lucy Lassiter at two weeks old. DCS took her two weeks later..

On October 2, Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator Teena Jones visited West at home. It checked out fine. West peed into a cup and signed an agreement not to be around drug users and to be subject to random drug screens. Jones told West the case would be closed. But it was really just beginning.

On October 5, CPSI Alexandrea Hickson came to the home and Mom peed into another cup. Hickson told her that it was positive for THC.  West explained again that CBD would have traces of THC, and you can buy it over the counter as she did, legally.

Sometime between October 2 and October 5, DCS learned West’s partner, Luke Lassiter, had a DCS case in Hickman County. They probably heard about it from Adam West, Abby’s ex. He called DCS the day before Lucy was removed. 

Baby Lucy was taken into custody around midnight in a Berry Hill Wendy’s parking lot on October 6, 2020. She was four weeks old.

Family Law Attorney Connie Reguli filmed it. (See https://youtu.be/bTjVf-hgjuE)

“You’re going to see what a real government kidnapping looks like,” Reguli says into her cell phone camera and then walks into the parking lot where several squad cars are blocking West’s car. Lucy’s dad, Luke Lassiter, is standing by his truck. 

One by one, Reguli talks to four officers and asks them why they are blocking them in. One of them says it’s a missing child. “She’s not missing. She’s right there with her Mom,” Reguli tells him. 

The police got on their phones but couldn’t reach DCS and Reguli tells one of the officers that DCS never called her and she represents Lucy’s Dad, Luke Lassiter. Thirty minutes go by before DCS caseworker Kimberly White shows up with a non-exigent removal order—which means it’s not an emergency. But DCS was obviously in a rush to take the baby.

Reguli gets on the phone with DCS supervisor Sylvia Vanderbilt. She asks her what the allegations are and if DCS held a safety placement meeting with Lucy’s parents. They are required by policy to have one. Vanderbilt hangs up on her. 

And then ”under the color of law” baby Lucy is taken into custody. “This is what they do,” Reguli says. “And they get the cops to come out and help them.” The video has had 214,000 views on YouTube 

DCS Case Against Lucy’s Mom and Cullen’s Dad: drugs they didn’t take

West once did have a drug problem. She relapsed in 2017 and realized she needed to do something about it. She sent the three kids to their Dad, got clean, and told the Tribune she hasn’t used for three years and has been clean for 10 of the last 15 years.

But she didn’t trust DCS or the lab they used, so she had a hair follicle test done on October 6. A week later it came back negative. By then DCS had already taken Lucy.

“Over the course of the nine months I took 32 tests. They were all negative for drugs. Two were considered positive because of a protein called Creatine was found in two of the samples,” she said.

West disputed the positive findings. She stopped taking CBD for two weeks and took her own test that was negative just a few days before DCS tested her again and they said she was positive. It should have been a moot point because West bought the CBD legally. It has a very small amount of THC in it. Not enough to get you high but enough to show up in a drug screen.

DCS didn’t care. They kept bringing it up over the next few months and Magistrate Carlton Lewis ordered West to take drug tests with Averhealth. She wasn’t taking drugs so slowly West made headway against DCS’s allegations.

Dr. Ann Charvat, West’s Mom, had custody of Lucy. She testified twice at hearings in Juvenile Court. Magistrate Lewis seemed intimidated by her.

Grandma Ann Charvat with Abby West and her four kids.

Charvat spent a career helping people, has a PhD in sociology, and has been an expert witness in more than 100 capital cases. She is no slouch and Charvat was Lucy’s grandmother. She was not in the least intimidated by Magistrate Lewis. Lewis fought with Charvat and at one point called her a liar. 

Given his hostility and obvious bias in favor of DCS, Lewis eventually recused himself in May 2021. On May 18, 2021 Lucy signed the divorce agreement in Circuit Court. 

In June, West filed a motion for unsupervised visitation in Juvenile Court so Charvat could go home to Illinois. Lassiter filed a joint discovery motion for West, Charvat, and himself in Davidson County Juvenile Court. Family law attorney and video vigilante Connie Reguli represented Charvat in the matter.

DCS wanted no part of Reguli. She would have cut them into a thousand pieces for repeatedly misleading West and Lassiter, running roughshod over them in four different courtrooms in two different counties, and all the while violating DCS protocols with impunity. DCS can dish it out but they can’t take it.

On July 1, 2021 DCS submitted a motion to Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway to non-suit the case. Calloway granted it. It meant DCS was throwing in the towel and Abby, Luke, and Lucy could finally go home. 

Family Law Attorney Connie Reguli with Lucy Lassiter.

In October 2021 West filed a civil rights complaint in federal district court against ten DCS employees, the MNPD, Vanderbilt Medical Center, and Averhealth, the lab-testing company.

Luke Lassiter’s DCS Case Had One Good Judge

Lassiter is appealing his DCS case in Hickman County.  He gets his son, Cullen, now 4, every other weekend. He wants him back fulltime. Cullen’s uncle, Grant Crawford, is willing to give Lassiter custody but DCS won’t let him and he can’t get his custody petition heard. Hickman County has just one Juvenile Court judge, Amy Puckett, and she has recused herself from the case.

Lassiter received notice from the Tennessee Supreme Court appointing Judge Douglas Chapman from Maury County to his case.  “So right now my custody petition is floating in the wind,” he said. 

The case started in November 2019 in Hickman County when Cullen’s maternal grandmother and his Mom’s brother, Grant Crawford, picked up 2-year-old Cullen from daycare while his Mom, Christina Crawford, was at work. They put him in foster care with DCS without talking to Cullen’s Mom or Dad. 

They had reason to take such drastic action. Crawford worked but she was a heroin addict. Lassiter had been out of the house for a year and Crawford didn’t let him see Cullen during that time.  

“They coerced us in court,” Lassiter said. Cullen’s grandmother didn’t want to become a foster parent. “If you don’t sign temporary legal custody over to Grant, he’ll be placed in a foster home and be lost in the system,” DCS attorney Keller Mizzell told Lassiter. 

Somebody in the gaggle of DCS workers gathered outside the courtroom pressuring Lassiter to sign added, “We are going to send him to some foster home, maybe in Memphis.” There’s nothing like a little race-baiting to put the fear of god into a reluctant defendant terrified by what might happen to his child.

DCS took Cullen because his hair follicle tested positive for heroin. But DCS can’t terminate parental rights unless both parents are convicted of severe abuse or neglect. Only Mom used heroin. Lassiter doesn’t. DCS knew that so they framed him for smoking pot while Christina was pregnant with Cullen three years before. They had no evidence but that didn’t stop DCS.

Christina and Cullen had tested positive for THC when he was born in 2017. DCS found the case unsubstantiated and closed it at the time. Three years later, DCS resurrected the “unsubstantiated” finding to file a new petition against Mom for severe abuse and neglect, this time naming Lassiter as a respondent. It was not about the Mom. She was out of the picture. It was about Lassiter.

Lassiter said he was never asked to take a drug test. “There were no allegations against me. Not a single one. But somehow now I’m guilty,” he said. 

“I’m a severe child abuser because my son’s Mom smoked a joint while she was pregnant and that’s the allegation I’m fighting in the Court of Appeals,” Lassiter said. 

If he ever gets there, it should be easy to show DCS decided he was guilty by association. Juvenile Court Judge Puckett let them get away with that. She forced Lassiter to agree to random drug screens in order to see Cullen every other weekend. They used the same tactic with West. It was unwarranted in both cases. 

Lucy Lassiter, Abby West, and Luke Lassiter, Halloween 2021.

“I’ve never failed one. I’ve passed very single drug screen they’ve given me, including a nail follicle test,” he said. Even so, DCS wouldn’t let Lassiter visit with Cullen until Circuit Court Judge Michael Spitzer found DCS in contempt. After that he got Cullen every other weekend, and still does.

All too often, however, judges let DCS get away with wrongfully taking children and treating parents with utter contempt. As we have reported, DCS has a presence in every Tennessee county. Judges either cooperate willingly or acquiesce because they are afraid to make waves. Judge Michael Spitzer is one judge who stood up to DCS bullying and found them in contempt.

When a judge holds a private citizen in contempt, they go to jail. When DCS gets found in contempt, they just shrug and keep on snatching babies and terrorizing families. (See https://tntribune.com/dcs-needs-a-major-overhaul/)

Join the Conversation

34 Comments

  1. Very succinct article concerning my family’s struggle to get Lucy free of DCS’ clutches…perhaps too succinct. The abuses mentioned were certainly egregious enough, and enough of them were mentioned to convey some of the agony Abby and Lucy endured. That’s not to mention what Luke and the rest of us (Abby’s dad, and especially her mom, who already had her hands full caring for her 90 year-old disable father in another state) were put through.

    The real tragedy, and agony of this started on the night of the abduction. Abby’s three older kids were all breast-fed, as was Lucy. In fact, in her short four weeks of life, Lucy had spent very scant time away from Abby’s embrace and nourishment. That ended through no fault of her own or Abby’s. Even when Dr. Charvat was able to claim custody of Lucy, her mother–who a few short weeks before had delivered her easily with no anesthesia–wasn’t allowed to be alone with her, sleep with her, or even nurse her. Nonetheless, she maintained her milk supply for weeks until the Department finally relented. Weeks later, she was allowed to spend the night in the apartment Charvat was donated by another angel volunteer couple (who deserve mention…but whose identities I can’t reveal without permission). No funds or any assistance was ever offered to Dr. Charvat for caring for Lucy for ten months. She had to turn to surrogates, including Abby’s dad, to travel to Illinois to spend weeks with her father while she cared for her granddaughter. Any appeals for relief of any kind were universally met with threats of Lucy’s seizure and placement into the foster-care system.

    DCS fought tooth and nail to entrap our daughter and her child, but ultimately, ten months later, without explanation, it was just…over. Lucy was returned to her mother and father. All suits and actions were dropped–‘nonsuited’ as they say. Dead stop. No apologies, explanations, accountability, or even acknowledgement, were ever offered for the agony and expense they caused.

    Yeah…maybe too succinct, but I could fill several articles the length of this one with similar official offenses during this lengthy, sordid episode. As documented by Ms. Reguli in the video linked above, to me this was the most heart-wrenching.

    Thank you, Mr. White for shedding some light on these and other abuses.

    1. I can’t get the idiots to do their job and clearly remove 2 Lil boys. 8 & 10. Never seen a school room or medical Dr. Since I hey we’re raped savagely as babies. 8 ur. Old is beaten ,locked in closet where he is made to live every day with alarm on door. He’s adhd and again so abused while the brother is babied and catered to. But both need removed. Only allowed soup to eat once daily. DCS is aware of this family and somehow always visits when no one home. They r there and DCD knows it but refuse to have imminent danger listed and somebody bust that drug door down. I have no tie to these boys so it’s all legit
      I just don’t know what will b salvaged for lil Eli if neglected and abuse allowed to cont

  2. Lost my great grandson and the father who is my grandson today because of DCFS. Baby because something might happen in the future. My grandson who is disabled IQ of 71 was forced out of my home, the legal guardian, to live on the streets and become a victim to a prostitution ring. My grandson was sentenced today to seven and a half years Federal Prison. Thank you d c f s.

  3. I had an atty give me ‘5 mins’ to ‘pick a child’ and I paid this atty cash, in full, before every court date, the full amt he asked for.

  4. I know of a very corrupt Dcbs as well. It’s sad, because it’s the children who get thrown around and put in worse situations.

  5. I know of a very corrupt Dcbs as well. It’s sad, because it’s the children who get thrown around and put in worse situations.

  6. This article is very one-sided, as if there was a existing bias before it was even written. What efforts were even made to cover the opposing side of the story?
    Also, you forgot to mention all of the disciplinary action, as well as criminal charges, conspiracy-theorist lawyer Connie Reguli is facing.

    1. Connie Reguli is not responsible for the reprehensible behavior of DCS employees. I have my own documented examples of DCS corruption and I have all of both sides to share. The corruption is systemic. Children are harmed at taxpayer expense.

    2. They also didn’t contact Cullen Lassiter’s current guardian, the Uncle that is supposedly willing to give him back.

  7. We have made every effort to get DCS’s side of the story. They refuse to talk to us or provide any information. Who are you? Would you like to be interviewed?

    1. You did not make any effort to contact Cullen Lassiter’s current guardian before you printed false information, like how “willing” he is to hand him over to Lucas.

  8. Dfacs has taken my children 2 months old now was 4 days old before they took my now 2 year old that was then 10 monthsbold due to supposedly THC in his saliva and meth in his hair follicle. I had been in recovery for 19months on using meth but I smoked pit occasionally. The car worker said that was even fine, but they go n say this which it’s totally false. Then they accused my husband of failing for meth not along ago after a year of never failing one and never ever seeing what meth looked like. I’ve been thru 5 lawyer 2 of them paid and 9 supervisors and caseworkers and my transfer took 6 months to ever be transferred. I fighting them tooth and nail. They made me and my just married husband separate us divorce threatened me they would tpr me if I didnt. Me and my 4 day old was negative at the hospital they took him the day after we got out of hospital. Ive got proof every call txt email ever and I can’t get anyone to listen to me. Help me please.

  9. I was there are 10 pm at night in the Wendy’s parking lot. Had I not already been arrested for defending a client against the power mongering DCS, I would have just said “no” or told Ms. Abby to just say “no, you can’t have my baby”. What the story cannot cover is how attorney’s are terrorized and punished for standing up against this tyranny. When you watch the video, and I hope you do, understand that I did not willingly allow DCS Worker White to steal 4 week old Lucy, a perfectly healthy baby. If we do not stop DCS – it will be your child or your neighbors child or your grandchild. Join me in this fight. Watch Connie Reguli on Youtube or watch the Family Forward Project on Facebook.

    1. Can you please give names of a family advocate in Shreveport/ Bossier city louisiana. My son and his girlfriend have been dealing with cps for almost a year now. When their baby was born on March 31, 2021 cps stepped in and took him from the hospital over allegations of domestic abuse. Since then cps have done nothing but lie and twist things up. They really want the foster family that can’t have kids of her own to adopt my grandson. The foster mom has even went up to my son’s girlfriend’s job on 3 different occasions trying to get her to sign over her rights to her. She even sat down in front of her at visitation begging her to sign over rights to her so they can adopt my grandson. I tried to get him so he could live with me. I passed all the background checks, the honestly, the job requirements, etc. But since I had a case on me 5 years ago (where I got my kids back and have doing great) they said I would have to be reviewed which has been going on since 1 with no answer yet. My mom stepped in and said she wanted him. She passed the background checks but they said because my step dad has Parkinsons that he couldn’t go to her house either. They said that Nolen has already bonded with these strangers so they didn’t want to move him out of their home. They are strangers we are his family he needs to be with his family. Cps is not trying to help with bringing my grandson home they keep trying to get my son’s girlfriend to sign all rights over to them. The cps had a team meeting and they TPR on my son and his girlfriend on Wednesday and now it has to go in front of the judge. My son just now was able to do his DNA test on Thursday which cps set up during his parenting class time. So he had to miss his class. They’ve never failed a drug test but the court put them in drug court, on top of parenting class, anger management, domestic violence, therapy, etc. Which one class can’t be started until the other is done. They only give them an hour a week visitation and there has been a lot of times that they don’t even give them that. For about 2 to 3 months visitation was done on zoom. How can you bond with your newborn son on zoom. They also take Nolen out of town to see their never notifying my son or his girlfriend. What if something happens to him while they’re gone. It’s like my son and girlfriend don’t have any rights as parents to their son and this has been going on since day 1. We don’t have the monet to be able to afford an attorney and the court appointed one’s aren’t doing anything to help. There’s a whole lot more I can add to this but this is just the basic over all. Please help us in anyway you can. Oh and the caseworker and the foster parent are friends. The foster parent is really the one calling shots and running the show with everything and the court and cps are letting her. Please help us bring Nolen home where he belongs and out of the hands of these evil baby stealing people. Point us in the right direction…

    2. Thank you so much Connie for fighting this DCS corruption/collusion. My fiancé and I have been fighting Williamson County DCS and Sharon Guffee for almost a year to have our almost two year old solely on “neglect” charges. During this traumatic ordeal in which we were verbally and emotionally battered and abused by this unaccountable loose cannon and obviously not impartial judge, prosecutors, and case workers-we were blessed with a newborn baby girl on May 27th of this year. On July 19th, when I attended court that was called regarding our son’s case, my newborn, whom is breastfed, in perfect health, and has never tested positive of any substances (along with my fiancé and myself) was RIPPED from my arms and placed into a FOSTER HOME. She is five weeks old!! I have NEVER experienced or witnessed any judge or court of law that has blatantly operated on oppression, corruption and collusion. My own father was a prosecutor for 30 years as an ADA and 10 years as an appellate lawyer. Since the age of 16 I worked summers in the County Superior Court Jury Administration and am very aware about the sacredness of the court and judge’s constitutional mandate for accountability and impartiality. Our attorneys have done absolutely NOTHING to defend us and I have had to take it upon myself to try and urge for motions to be filed and for DCS to hold itself to it’s own “permanency plan”. (I am not a sketchy drug addict with nothing to provide my children. I have an Ivy League degree, we have a paid for house, our children are provided with the absolute BEST of what the world has to offer as my fiancé comes from an extremely affluent and notable Tennessee family.) I have collected hard evidence for the return of our child and newborn, the constant damaging verbal, emotional, and physical harassment and abuse of Sharon Guffee and affiliated DCS workers/partners. I have to proverbially pinch myself every morning to affirm that this unimaginable nightmare is actually happening to us. PLEASE HELP US. ANYTHING-information, advice, contacts-ANYTHING would help us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for validating the trauma my family is suffering.

  10. Well this kind of abuse by DCF is no surprise to me we live in Kentucky my son had a girlfriend who had his baby and he had to go to Afghanistan in the army all he was gone the mother got on drugs and was taking his check that he was making from being overseas and spending it on drugs so I canceled the bank account so she cannot get to the funds this made her mad she moved out of my home and in with her aunt while she was at the aunt’s house can’t decided she was too addicted to drugs to try to care for the baby I tried to apply to get my grandson did GCF worker said because my son was not married even though he was in the labor room he signed the document saying it was his son because he wasn’t married and there was no blood test DNA I had no grandparents rights, and we would have to wait until my son come back from Afghanistan which was a lengthy process to get done the time he made it back stateside the aunt she was living with who was a woman gave the child to a Mormon family in Utah this pretty much broke my son he seemed crazy things during the war that we weren’t supposed to be fighting then come home to find out he lost his son so now my son gets on drugs and my grandson is way across the country and I have not seen him since he was a year old when all this transpired he is 11 now I just pray did I live long enough for him to become an adult so that we can meet again. But the point is if the DCF worker wasn’t so gun Whole about giving my grandson to complete strangers maybe you know doing what was right for the child and the parent instead of what was whatever that woman had in her mind which by the way I had spoken to never had a child have no clues what it takes to raise a child how in the world can they judge parents I don’t think they train their DCF workers completely enough and I don’t think they work hard enough to keep families together more often not they are poor and families apart and breaking hearts.
    Even my son was 13 years old he started acting up I was a single mother I met a lady she told me oh if you have any problems just call us we’ll help so I did their help was I took my son out of my home and put him in foster care and did an investigation it was found that my home was fit neglect charges were unfounded I just had a hormonal teenager but because the judge decided she did not like my other son she left him in foster care until time ran out and if she would have left him there any longer the state would have to pay not me because I wasn’t found incompetent or unfit and then and only then was when she allowed my son to come home so that was pretty traumatic for my boy who spent over 4 months and foster care for no reason. They need a new system the one that they got is broken does not work like most of our government offices. If they’re moving at all it’s backwards upside down and sideways our whole system needs to be redone from protection of children to every other program.

  11. I know very well how corrupt DCS is.. My husband passed away from cancer 4yrs ago he wasn’t even gone a full 2 weeks before a family member started calling Dcs every week with false allegations finally 8 months later Oct 2018 they got what they wanted and took my 3 teenage kids. My husband and I smoked weed while he was sick and after he passed I didn’t smoke anymore but forgot he still had some in his dresser I grounded my oldest son at the time who had just turned 16 from driving his dad’s truck because he wouldn’t clean his nasty room and take care of 2 puppies he brought home without my knowledge so I took his truck keys away until he done what I told him to. While I was at work he went in my room looking for the keys found the weed in his dad’s dresser took a Pic and sent it to the family member next day DCS showed up with the police showed me the Pic and I cooperated with everything they asked and they took my babies that day.. fast forward from Oct 2018 to Dec 2018 I completed and done everything dcs and the court asked me to do trying to get my babies back home before Christmas but it never happened a family friend is who I called to take my kids as the temp legal custodian and 2yrs ago the friend gave the family member a power of attorney which ended up having my 2 younger kids get taken to Florida and I can’t tell you how many times I have been to court for it to just keep being put off since they have been in Florida if I talk to them I have to be on speaker phone with the family member in the background making it difficult to even have a conversation I haven’t received any pictures of them at all and the family member has done nothing but fill their heads with lies about me recently the judge relinquished jurisdiction to Florida court and left it up to the court down there to lift my unsupervised visitation of which they would not even though I completed everything they asked. My daughter is going to be 18 this week and my youngest is 16 but I have to be supervised if I want to talk to them or see them by the family member. I’ve always been a good mom my kids have never been without anything they have had everything 4wheelers pool every gaming console computers you can imagine name brand clothes shoes ect.. they have never had a spanking in their life or anything and I’ve had to miss out on the most important times of their lives it was hard enough losing my husband of 20yrs but then losing my babies too.. I’ve had my same job almost 7yrs I still live in and pay a mortgage on our house they grew up in for 15yrs now but I’m made out to be some horrible parent by dcs that I never was. No parent should ever have to go through what I have and no child so have to go through what mine did and the sad thing about it all is if my kids didn’t have social security money attached to them from their dad passing away none of this would have happened in the first place

  12. Thank you very much for this article. DCS needs to be held accountable. I am relieved that more and more light is being shined on the atrocities committed by DCS. I am also very thankful for TN family advocate and warrior Connie Reguli and her relentless fight to expose this industry for what it is.
    My concern is for the poor and disenfranchised families that live in Rural TN or don’t have the funds to hire such a thorough attorney. They get stuck with newly graduated attorneys that work out of the trunk of their car who survive completely off the case appointments from the county’s juvenile judge. Of course the appointed attorney is going to go along with the flow and “business as usual” careful not to ripple the waters because what motive do they have to fight for these families rights and due process? No incentive for these new attorneys, but their is a big incentive to just go along with dcs recommendations, not challenge them to avoid anyones schedules to be backed up or lunch to be late. Also these appointed attorneys spend like 10 mins with parents in the juvenile court lobby right before going into the court room. Thats it! Tell me how parents are getting proper representation? They are not! They might as well not appoint attorneys because it is just a facade put in place to give The illusion that parents have representation and due process is being given. I also want to remind our community that being poor does not equal neglect.

  13. I agree with Laura. Very one sided. All too often, DCBS – CPS is blamed for things. Imagine if parents simply did the correct things. Not use drugs, not neglect, abuse their children. That’s where it starts. DCBS – CPS doesn’t just magically appear for zero reason and remove children. Parents that make mistakes, own up to them, take steps to fix it, they deserve a second chance. Parents that blame DCBS – CPS, refuse to fix things, they aren’t responsible or mature enough to have children in their homes. Truth hurts sometimes.

    1. Imagine if they did all the right things…but still ended up in DCS crosshairs. It happens more often than you think, and once it starts it’s extremely difficult to get out.

      1. Just facts and Laura. You are wrong.

        I raised for children in Tennessee and if you think for one minute I didn’t make any mistakes that DCS/CPS might not have found actionable, you are simply wrong.

        But they never came around, because that’s not what this is about.

        Vulnerable parents, mostly black and brown but not always, seek help from institutions who are supposed to help them, and that knock on the door is considered grounds to use everything they say against you and to prosecute.

        I promise you. This was not the goal of dcs when I worked in Nashville as a professional. They have become a prosecuting agency, run amok due to incompetence and no oversight.

        It is a miracle we have our child, but know that it was not without me and a team of others which included Abby and Luke. We only followed their lead when we were sure they we listening to us. And they usually were.

        We don’t have any money, but we know some folks who do and we asked for help and we got it. And people in the rural communities, that’s what you have to do. Ask loudly and ask often and keep asking. For the record, I owe Connie three grand. I gave her two, months after she got up out of bed and drove to Nashville and made our video for free. She got nothing for that, except harassments from state agencies.

        She told us that night, “I can’t let you get arrested. You can’t fight from jail.”

        I hate her politics, but I love her heart. And you, Connie, are the reason we have that baby. You did that. Consider letting me work off that debt.

        This is not a one sided story. There are so many sides.

        If you want yours heard, add it, Know that parents who face dcs/cps are not different than those who raise children without state intervention. Variables such as race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, colorism, family stability, community involvement should be explored in relationship to creating each child’s village. It’s a really hard job, which we do as a calling,

        When you do this work, you honor not only the child, but how they got here.
        It matters, to them.

        And finally, know that whatever happens to this white family is experienced ten fold by minority families. It’s just a fact.

        I want to recount what happened to me that night, but I have no words.

        After it was all over, Connie Reguli took my face in her hands and said, “Many women in this position commit suicide.” Abby took pains to tell me that if she ever committed suicide, I should know it as a lie.

        So, Connie, thank you. We’re still standing. And other side, whenever you’re ready, we are too.

  14. It’s so simple, to believe that if you are a reasonably good parent, then CPS won’t come a-knockin. It’s just not how it works tho. But I believe that folks who have never been targeted have to believe that so that they aren’t forced Attorney to live with the anxiety and fear that is targeted parents know so well. If y’all realized the truth, you would have the same feelings of fear and rage and sorrow. I’ve been a parent for 16 years, almost, and I used to be the same way. I was never as judgemental as some, but I did usually believe that if a parent was facing this, it was for a good reason. Alas. What is a good reason to cause a children the trauma of ripping them from their home? From barring all contact to their primary parent?

    Anyway, Connie is right that lawyers should not be punished and ostracized and thrown in jail snd whatever else just for defending their clients and speaking out against a system that dismantles families for huge financial gain. Yuck. The reason it’s hard to trust any lawyer to properly defend a parent in juvenile or domestic relations court, is because of how the lives of the attorneys will be affected if they try and stand for what is right.

    Thank you Connie. Hang in there. And Peter. Thank you peter.

  15. Just Facts and Laura.

    Do you have real names, and if so, please use them so I can contact you.

    I would love to, or contact me, as I have provided you the means.

    I saw something different.

    Courtrooms oversimplify conflict by trying to distinguish the plaintiff from the defendant, the victim from the perpetrator. Think about the factors involved. Within a family, they are indistinguishable, and next to impossible to measure, and yet we try.

    I think the same is true within communities.

    Research shows that children fare better in their own messed up families than they do in foster care. I’m guessing but do not know, that the difference is honesty and a willingness to honor the biological father and mother, and to always make them accessible, if not physically, then at least with pictures and phone calls.

    Is a dog owner never allowed a mistake? If you create a compassionate, forgiving, nurturing environment giving the parents the same immunity we give dcs, kids will tell you what they need, In fact, that’s all of us, if you think about it.

    Thirty years ago, that’s what dcs did.

    Today, it is a prosecuting agent with no oversight.

    If this was my story, I would go to Dr. Gerald Papika, ombudsman for the Tennessee Department of Child and Family Services. He’s a decent man, I think, and that’s what we pay him to do; namely listen to all the sides.

    ,

  16. My child was stolen by cps Oct 2016 and while I was under investigation and attempting to complete the safety plan, I had my daughter stay with my oldest sister to keep her from going into foster care. My sister then gave my child away (rumors that she was sold) without my knowledge or consent to a local family of lawyers and judges who are very powerful and politically tied. We have been fighting to get our child home since 2016. Here we are over six years later, and are forced to only see her everyother weekend despite jumping through all of the crazy hoops. Judge Micheal Malski and GAL Jonathon Martin have been completely bias in the case and have allowed our child to be legally kidnapped. The system has completely abused and flat out neglected our right as parents, and it’s been absolutely heartbreaking watching our daughter be torn apart.

  17. If you can’t do the TIME, dont do the CRIME…..I’ve seen way to many kids with Druggie parents that only want the children just to draw a check on them just to use the check for more drugs. I think that the DHS does a GREAT JOB in removing these children from the trashy people that have the nerve to call themselves parents. Keep up the good work DHS…

  18. DCS can not and will not remove children from their home without cause. DCS staff can not just take kids and follow the policy/law when working with families. They also answer to upper management. It’s never personal. Using drugs while caring for a child or pregnant with a child is severe abuse, simple. A lot of parents refuse to take responsibility for being piss poor parents. They seek to blame DCS and they refuse to look at the real culprit in the mirror!!! Very one-sided story…

  19. Is anyone else wondering how they made the leap from “mother gives up custody of three kids to get baby back from dcs?” According to the first part of this article, she literally has custody of her other three children, for over 100 days a year, as part of an agreement she made that DCS wasn’t involved in.

    Also wondering why they would feel the need to remove such a young child from the home with no reason. I’m assuming they most likely closed the case because she passed her drug screens and took her classes, that doesn’t mean that that baby wasn’t exposed to something or put in harm’s way, or that they had given someone some indication that something was wrong. It just means she did what she was asked once they removed the baby.

    This article seems super biased and one sided. Nowhere are there any quotes from the people actually taking care of the child that’s still removed from this chick’s new baby daddy.

    Yet again, another example of clickbait journalism.

  20. I am so glad I found these articles and I would love to tell my story. I was taken to the hospital for mental health due to post partum and life. After I went to the hospital DCS showed up took my child away from her babysitter ( roommate and friend of 25 years) without a reason at all. Case got closed and I still don’t know why all this happened. My court appointed attorneys kept quitting saying I was hard to work with bc I kept asking for answers. I was never allowed to speak in court and a no contact order is in place. The day I finished my permanency plan my visits were taken with a no contact order because a case worker saw me hit my child in the office which did not happen and I never even got notified for court. They made me out to be mentally unstable even with 8 years of medical records proving my mental health is stable. They gave custody to a father who was abusive and wouldn’t help me or have anything to do with her until she was taken.

  21. Dcs removed my children and split the 4 of them up into different counties, 3 years ago. I complied, did everything their state psychiatrist recommended and nothing ever changed on their end. After 11 years of being a hardworking mom and without help for the majority of those years, one accusation without evidence, ripped my family apart. They placed my oldest daughter with her alcoholic father. She was emotionally and mentally abused by him as a result and molested by someone he allowed to live in their home, during her placement there. Eventually the abuse, turned physical until he punched her in the mouth on Halloween night 2020. She was thirteen and she was terrified for her safety. She had been let down by adults that were supposed to protect her and felt she had no other choice and she stole his car and ran away that night and that is the only reason she is back home. No one believed her when she reported abuse during all of this, so she just got abused more because of the reports. When she finally got the courage to get out of there, no matter what it took, she was shamed by dcs for stealing the car and no action was taken against her abuser. That is why most people feel powerless in these situations. You either do something crazy and get into major trouble for it even if it is justifiable, or your child continues to be abused because DCS DOESN’T DO THEIR JOB. It’s awful how false accusations and unfound evidence can lead to the most precious being hurt, raped, and even killed by the very people who are supposed to protect them. No action is taken against them or accountability for any of the terror they cause every day. Children die every day, and we pay these people to kill them. They get bonuses for every child they are able to adopt out? They are paid to rip families apart and place children in unsafe homes resulting in Sexual abuse, Physical Abuse and death. Most times the homes they are placed in are worse than the ones they are removed from.My family is still torn in half. I get to see my 2 boys once every two weeks and only for 2 or 3 hours. The girls are together and i get more time with them but my kids were taken from each other as well. In 24 hours time, dcs did more damage and caused more trauma in my babies lives than i could have ever fathomed. They were never in danger of being harmed, or abused in my home, had everything they needed in multiples. But because of negligence and a case worker with a conflict of interest, my children are separated and our family suffers every day. They told me i didn’t have any other options that i would just have to deal with the conflict of interest because they were short handed. I can’t tell you how painful it is to have the very thing you wake up and live for every day be taken away and to be left completely powerless over anything in the situation. As parents we have to stop this from continuing. We can’t continue to let this happen to our children in this country. These children are our future and they deserve better than that. And who will protect them if we don’t. These people should not have more rights to our children than we do when they’re statistically more likely to be harmed in the system than in their own homes. That is factual. In my opinion, any Judge that is aware of this and let’s a child be removed anyway is incompetent and just as guilty as dcs. Our government officials are just as guilty as well. Why isn’t this a #1 priority? They aren’t changing the system and they aren’t making these people be held accountable and responsible for the lives lost and destroyed every day. Anyone who is aware of this situation and doesn’t do something to stop it when they have the power to do so, is guilty . What could you possibly say is more important than the lives of children and their futures? My bad, y’all are more worried about vaccines and gas prices, than you are about the children being safe and protecting them? I’m calling out every single government office and every single government official in America. Senators,
    govenors, state representatives, and everyone in between. If you’re able to stop this department of corruption from harming more children, if you have any authority over the measures, laws, or policy’s that are involved, or any ability to shut it down, get to work on it. Before anything else gets voted on, or passed through the legislative process, or put into action, get your priorities in order and do something for these innocent children. “President” Biden? Where are you at? What are you doing today? Nothing should be held above this. Y’all shut down the whole country for a virus and have absolutely all the authority to shut this corrupt government organization down, and instead you’re sitting there, letting thousands of children be victimized by them. Who is going to do something? Why isn’t this being done quickly? Why are you all so slow to change how this organization is ran? Why are they still operational? Do something before “We the people” finally decide that enough is enough. The constitutional rights of parents are being violated in almost every case. That was written to protect the people from government, not to protect the government from us. I’m tired of sitting here quietly while my God given and constitutional rights are being stepped on every day. I will not be another person who doesn’t stand up for what is right. If you don’t stand up and fight these people for the children, then you shouldn’t be paid by the American people. If you are in a position of authority and not doing something about this You’re a fraudulent employee of the American Government if you aren’t working to fix this then you shouldn’t be there.

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