Sens. Akbari, Lamar to DCS: Reunite the Clayborne-Williams children with their parents

Tennessee Lookout reports Dept. of Children’s Services has held these kids for nearly 30 days due to a misdemeanor marijuana charge

Tennessee Senate Democrats
2 min readMar 17, 2023

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NASHVILLE — Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) and Sen. London Lamar (D-Memphis), chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, issued statements today urging the Department of Children’s Services to reunite five children with their parents.

The Tennessee Lookout reported Bianca Clayborne and Deonte Williams were on Interstate 24 heading to a family funeral in Chicago — kids asleep in the back of the car — when a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer pulled them over for “dark tint and traveling in the left lane while not actively passing.”

During the traffic stop, Williams was charged for simple possession of marijuana. While Clayborne waited for Williams’ release, DCS workers forcibly removed the five children from Clayborne. Despite desperate pleas from their parents, the department has now had the children in state custody for nearly 30 days.

Sen. Raumesh Akbari:

Our goal should be to keep families together because babies and young children belong with their parents.

It is outrageous that the state forcefully separated Bianca Clayborne, a breastfeeding mother, and Deonte Williams from their kids and have allowed this to continue for nearly a month.

The state exercised extreme and flawed judgment in taking their children and it seems they’ve doubled down on this poor decision.

No family is perfect, but an imperfection, like a simple marijuana charge, is no excuse for tearing a family apart. The state is supposed to support reunification. If they don’t have a better reason, they must immediately return these five children to their parents.

Sen. London Lamar:

I am demanding that the Department of Children’s Services and the Coffee County justice system release the children of Bianca Clayborne and Deonte Williams back to their parents.

It is unacceptable abuse of power for state officials to rip five children away from their parents over a misdemeanor possession charge when DCS cannot even take care of the kids they already have in custody.

It’s also ridiculous that a month later DCS is still fighting to keep these children away from their parents over weed, which is legal in the state where their family was driving for a funeral.

The Department of Children’s Services and Coffee County need to do what is right and return these children to their family before any more harm is done.

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