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Re-entering Custody

Every day, families in Tennessee make hard, selfless choices.

The story of one young man named Luke illustrates the point and also shows how complex the work of public child welfare can be.

Luke, 17, entered foster care as a small child and was adopted by his foster mother. He has autism, severe developmental delays and requires round-the-clock supervision.

When his widowed, adoptive mother fell ill and entered a nursing home, Luke’s older brother was not able to provide the intensive and focused care Luke requires. His family was faced with devastating choices and Luke re-entered DCS custody in August as a result. When Luke turns 18, his case will transfer to the Tennessee Department of Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities.

“When I came to the realization that we needed help, calling DCS was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life,’’ Luke’s brother, Chris, wrote in a letter to DCS.

The letter, seen below, refers to South Central Regional DCS staff Erin Alderman, who worked the assessment case and Ashley Stevens who is Luke’s new family services worker. Carrie Buchanan is Ashley’s supervisor.

Learn More

Does your family, or a family you know, need help? DCS staff and case workers can assist or refer you to services in your community, whether your child is in custody or not.

For more information contact:

  • The Child Abuse Hotline to report abuse or neglect: 1-877-237-0004.
  • DCS Resource Linkage staff collaborates with community services and resources to offer short-term interventions that enhance the welfare of children and preserve family life. You can call your local DCS office or the Child Abuse Hotline.

The Letter