#Dismantle(DCS) Department of Children’s Services

Human Rights violations have reached an all-time high in the State of Tennessee

BLM Memphis requests federal oversight for the Mothers & Children Separated By the Tennessee Department of Children Services. On October 20, 2022, Community Members Demanded Answers in Regard to Missing Children and that Parents & Children Be Released from the state’s custody.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted millions of children’s lives. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) is presently forcing many families to turn over children because of malicious prosecutions ensued by former District Attorney Amy Weirich.  DCS is responsible for placement while parents are incarcerated if there is no one to care for them, but this is not always the case. Children who are brought into the custody of DCS are victims of displacement, child sexual abuse, and adverse childhood experiences linked to life-long mental and physical health challenges.  These issues will cause our children to be prepped for the DCS to prison pipeline.  Due to incompetence, DCS is juggling case workers and foster care placement workers daily for supervision of small children because they have no placement for children in their custody. 

These concerns reached an all-time high when a 3-year-old was erroneously reported missing by Jennifer Yarbrough of DCS to the Memphis Police Department. This child was physically taken into custody on a Sunday at the Independent bank. It was then determined that other children were asleep on the floors in cubicles at 40 S. Main Independent Bank building.  The actions of DCS increase irreparable trauma, and household stress, and creates tension with the Memphis Police Department because they are being weaponized by DCS. DCS continues to violate parents’ and children’s human rights.

We are demanding answers and calling for a moratorium on children entering DCS custody until the United States Department of Justice can review its systematic practices that cause unnecessary harm to predominantly black children. We are also asking the state to verify how many children are in custody due to their parent’s incarceration.  MOTHERS HAVE RIGHTS TOO (MHRT) is partnering with other local and national organizations for support to affected families to focus primarily on damages and reshaping the narrative around governmental child abuse and neglect. 

Our commitment to evidence-based tools, like home visiting, to address the root causes of child abuse and neglect before they happen and invest in community-based alternatives for parents and children rather than more DCS workers.  Our goal is to promote positive family experiences
as parents support children in their reunification with parents or families.  Communites are being destroyed by incompetence. The goal should always be family reunification, not separation. Black Lives Matter Memphis calls for a city-to-county,  State-by-State audit, and analysis to help reduce children entering into a broken system. We need all parents who have had negative encounters with DCS to join the certification class for this negligence.” The State of Tennessee’s constitutional violations and failure to provide adequate care for children in their custody require drastic change immediately.  Scan the QR code to join the class action lawsuit. #blackbabiesmattertoo #blacklivesmattermemphis

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