May 2023 Open Line

Memorial Day

In honor of those who have selflessly given and valiantly served our Nation – we thank you. We remember you this Memorial Day and think of your loved ones who miss you. 

E. Andre Bowen joins the Department of Children Services, Juvenile Justice

E. Andre Bowen

E. Andre Bowen joins the Department of Children Services, Juvenile Justice as the Superintendent of Wilder Youth Development Center.  Andre is coming from the corporate sector where he worked for the past 7 years as a Quality Auditor for Kellogg’s Corporation.  Prior to Kellogg’s Andre served in the public sector in several capacities.  In 2015, Andre served the citizens of Nashville and Davidson County as the Chief Criminal Investigator for the Metro Public Defender’s Office.  From 1989 until 2014 Andre served the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County with the Memphis Police Department (MPD) and Shelby County Correction Center (SCCC). 

Andre served in various capacities within MPD.  His assignments included Uniform Patrol, Officers in Schools (OIS), Community Policing (COACT), Economic Crime Bureau, Felony Response, and Sex Crimes/Juvenile Abuse.

During his time in Sex Crimes, Andre worked directly with DCS’s Child Protection Investigation Team (CPIT).  Andre was a part of CPIT and worked many cases and hours to protect the children of Memphis and Shelby County.

Andre has also worked with children in his free time as a mentor/advisor.  From 1999 until 2007 Andre was the coordinator for the MPD Explorer Program working with youth ages 14-18. Andre also served as an advisor to a couple of high school fraternal organizations.

Andre proudly served in the United States Marine Corps and is a Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran.  Andre also retired from Federal Express where he worked as a Corporate Security Officer and Operations Manager.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Christian Brothers University as well as a master’s degree in Business Organization and Security Management from Webster University St. Louis.

Foster Parent Appreciation

Foster Parent Appreciation

Knox Region’s Foster Parent Support teams and other Knox Region DCS staff, representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Jacob Foundation, as well as partners from the Tennessee Community Service Agency’s Foster Parent Advocacy Program, partnered together for a three-day Foster Parent Appreciation event.

Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Tennessee Kids Belong presented Knox Region DCS with a proclamation recognizing May 16, 2023, as Foster Care Awareness Month in Knox County

Foster Parent Appreciation

Reason to celebrate in Shelby County!

Peace out Foster Care!

After almost 8 years, Sarah finally reached permanency and was adopted by the Jacksons! The family gave permission for us to share the joyous occasion.

The adoptive parents have agreed to continue to allow phone conversations with Sarah’s sibling and hopefully begin visits soon. 

(Case managed by TL Potocha Walker, shared by Marlene Hayman)

Peace out Foster Care!

Sarah says, “Peace Out Foster Care” while doing a dance move!

Congratulations to Commissioner Quin

Commissioner Quin Award

Congratulations to Commissioner Quin for being recognized at the 2023 Cumberland University Distinguished Alumni of the year!

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing

The Department has partnered with the Tennessee Public Safety Network to bring the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) program to DCS staff. Peer debriefings are found to be an effective and approachable way to support staff who face these adverse experiences at work. The Department is committed to addressing work-related trauma and providing mental health recovery methods to strengthen our workforce.

If you are interested in learning more about this program, we join you to watch a brief video about the program, including testimonials from some DCS staff and law enforcement personnel who have participated in debriefings.

To request a debriefing or learn more, please click here:

For additional information, including details about upcoming training sessions to become a trained debriefer, please contact the Program Manager, Andrea Graves, at

Laura Oneal

Employee Spotlight: Laura Oneal

Laura is a Foster Care Team Leader with the Blount County Foster Care Teams. Laura has been with the State since 1999. Laura sits in the Blount County Office and was recently recognized as Employee of the Month in the Smoky Mountain Region.

Are you Ready for COA?

DCS is accredited by the Council of Accreditation, and they will be at UBS and the hotline in August!

Be on the lookout for upcoming e-mails detailing ways you can get ready for the site visit.  We can’t do it without YOU!

Best of Me is in 2023

May 26, 2023

Mental Health Matters

Week 5: Crossword puzzle contest

Your mental health is EVERYTHING…prioritize it! Make the time like your life depends on it because it does 😊

How to participate:

  1. Print off the crossword puzzle.
  2. Once you have completed the puzzle, email it to The puzzle is due by 6/5/23.
  3. A winner will be chosen at random!! GOOD LUCK 😊

Tobacco Free Living

Tobacco Free Living

May 31 is World No Tobacco Day. Whether you want to start a tobacco-free life or want to help someone else on their journey, we have several resources for you!

Join the Tobacco Free Living webinar presented by ActiveHealth on Wednesday, May 31 from 1-1:30 p.m. CT.

This session isn’t just for smokers. We’ll go over how tobacco affects the body and various ways people use nicotine, like vaping. We’ll talk about how you can get ready to quit or help someone you love start on the path to tobacco-free living.

Download the calendar invite.

Can’t attend a live event? Here4TN has several videos on tobacco to watch at your convenience.

Complete a tobacco cessation sign and share a photo (with permission) to




Biscuit Day

Recipe of the Week

May 29 was National Biscuit Day!

It’s not too late to celebrate with these Whole Wheat Yogurt Biscuits.

Using whole wheat flour is a great way to enjoy whole grains. Whole grains deliver a variety of important nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and other healthy plant compounds. Another benefit of this recipe is that it costs less than $2.00 to make!

May 19, 2023

7 Day Squat Challenge

Week 4: Squat challenge!

Fitness challenges are a FUN way to get people moving and bring some healthy competition into the workplace!! See the image for the 7-day squat challenge details.

If you complete the 7-day squat challenge, send an email to by 5/30/23 to qualify for a PRIZE!! 

Who’s ready???

7 Day Squat Challenge Details
7 Day Squat Challenge Details

Prenatal Health Care

Prenatal Health Care

There are many aspects to women’s health, including prenatal care. Prenatal care is the care you receive while pregnant. Learn more at:

I'm So Hungry

Upcoming Virtual Events

Get to Know the Hunger Scale
Thursday, May 25 from 12-12:15 p.m. CT

Did you know you can learn to listen to your body to better recognize true physical hunger vs. psychological hunger? Join this short session to get to know the hunger scale with Wellness Coordinator and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lindsey Joe.

Download calendar invite.

You can access all upcoming activities, webinars, and workouts at

Can’t attend the live event?

Check out these healthy eating resources:

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In case you missed it!

Last week state employees gathered to test their healthy living knowledge. If you couldn’t join the fun, take this quiz by Friday, June 9 for a chance to win one of three prizes!

Healthy Living Trivia:

Broccoli Stalk Hummus

Recipe of the Week

Broccoli can be prepared in many ways, but have you ever thought about turning it into a dip? Try this Broccoli Stalk Hummus. Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Experiment with different herbs and spices in your hummus, like parsley, tarragon, chives, cumin, paprika, za’atar, or whatever you like!

May 12, 2023

Share Kudos with Your Coworker

DCS has a KUDOS challenge for the week of 5/15/23. Appreciating our peers and colleagues can play a BIG role in our happiness and well-being! This week, take a moment and share appreciation with your coworkers! You can leave a “thank you” note on a coworker's desk, send an appreciation email to brighten someone’s day, surprise someone with their favorite candy, or any other creative idea to say thank you!

Here are the photos from the Healthy/Active Challenge hosted by the DCS Wellness Council May 8-12.

Let’s Play Better Bites BINGO! 

In this game, you’ll have fun while learning and practicing healthier eating habits! In one week, try to complete a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row of healthy eating activities listed on this BINGO card

Let us know if you participated by Wednesday, May 31. 

Five participants chosen at random will win a prize!

Upcoming Virtual Events

Upcoming Virtual Events

Meditation Break with Nat
Wednesday, May 17 from 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. CT

Give your mind a break with live, virtual meditation.

This class is brought to you by volunteer instructor and Tennessee State Government employee Nat Chapman from the Department of Human Services in partnership with Working for a Healthier Tennessee.

Download calendar invite.

Can’t attend a live event? Try this 10-minute Mindfulness Meditation: (10 minutes)

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Healthy Living Trivia
Friday, May 19 from 10-10:30 a.m. CT

The month of May has many national health observances. Test your health and wellness knowledge in this live trivia game led by Wellness Coordinator Morgan Blake. Can’t join us live? A link to this quiz will be available on the WFHTN Wellness Events webpage after May 19. 

The top three winners will be awarded a prize. An additional prize will be awarded to a participant chosen at random! We’ll play using Mentimeter.

Download calendar invite.

You can access all upcoming activities, webinars, and workouts at

Have you ever wondered what a serving size really looks like? In this 30-second video, find out the single serving size of some of your favorites, including avocado, apple, grapes, and more!

Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Muffins

Recipe of the Week

Monday, May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day!

Enjoy chocolate for breakfast in these Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. This recipe calls for quinoa flour; not all grocery stores carry quinoa flour. Quinoa flour is best purchased while on sale because it can be expensive, so plan ahead if you can. Other types of flour (almond flour, oat flour, all-purpose flour, etc.) can be substituted*. Quinoa is high in fiber, plus several vitamins and minerals that are low in many people's diets. Regularly eating quinoa can help you meet your needs for magnesium, potassium, iron, fiber, and folate.

*If you need to avoid gluten for medical purposes, keep in mind any substitutions may cause this recipe to not be gluten-free.

May 5, 2023

Osteoporosis Month

May is National Osteoporosis Month

Many Americans don't get enough calcium. Your body needs calcium to build strong bones and help prevent osteoporosis (bone loss).

One way to get enough calcium is to eat more dairy or fortified soy versions of dairy products. Other foods with added calcium and vitamin D can also help — and so can certain vegetables.

Learn more at:

Build Strong Bones

Upcoming Virtual Events

Build Stronger Bones
Thursday, May 11 from 1-1:15 p.m. CT

One of the best ways to prevent weak bones is to work on building stronger ones. As we get older, our bones don't make new bone fast enough to keep up with the bone loss. Join us for a weight-bearing workout to help strengthen your bones!

Equipment: Non-rolling chair and hand weights (or something similar, such as soup cans or full water bottles)

Download calendar invite.

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4Mind4Body Webinar: Be Proactive and Age Healthfully
Wednesday, May 10 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT

Preventive care is one of the key factors that influence long-term health. You can be an active member of your healthcare team. Learn the importance of routine care and what preventive screenings are available to you. Find out how to make the most of your appointments.

You can access all upcoming activities, webinars, and workouts at

Can’t attend a live event? Check out this 6-minute Upper Body Strength Workout (6 minutes, 17 seconds)

Shrimp Pad Thai

Recipe of the Week

Tuesday, May 9 is National Shrimp Day!

Try this easy and delicious Shrimp Pad Thai. Shrimp are a low-calorie healthy source of protein filled with helpful nutrients. Keep in mind that this recipe is high in sodium, so balance this dish out with lower-sodium options throughout the day!