Children won’t be returned to Georgia family until mom submits to drug testing

Lawyer says mother will have to submit a hair follicle test before children are returned
Advocates demanded five Georgia children be returned to their parents after a court hearing on Monday in Coffee County.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 9:35 PM CDT
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MANCHESTER, Tenn. (WSMV) - Advocates demanded five Georgia children be returned to their parents after a court hearing on Monday in Coffee County.

The children have been in Department of Children’s Services custody following a traffic stop in February.

Officers arrested the children’s father after they found marijuana and a gun inside the car.

A juvenile hearing was held Monday in Coffee County.

The family did not speak on camera on Monday, but those close to them said they are not giving up their fight to get their five children back.

“I can’t imagine my life without my babies,” Courtney Teasley, an attorney representing Bianca Clayborne and Deonte Williams said.

Clayborne and Williams are the Georgia couple whose children were taken from them after a traffic stop in Manchester on Feb. 17.

“A Black man and his family from Georgia where medical marijuana is legal were heading to a funeral in Chicago where recreational marijuana is legal,” Teasley said.

The Coffee County arrest warrant said the couple was pulled over with their kids in the car for having a dark tint and driving in the left lane without passing.

The warrant said Williams was arrested after troopers found marijuana and a weapon in the car.

The Department of Children’s Services took the children into custody after the arrest.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Matt Perry told WSMV 4 on Friday, “We did not arrest the mother in this particular case with the intent of leaving the children with her. So that is where we left it. The mother had custody of the children.”

WSMV4 asked DCS on Monday why the agency showed up and took the children.

“That is case specific. I can’t discuss that with you,” DCS spokesperson Alex Denis said outside court Monday, saying the agency’s main focus is the safety and well-being of children. “We talk about transparency a lot, whether that be policy, procedure, protocol, and in this case, we feel like those case managers did just that.”

After Monday’s decision, the family attorney would not comment on why the children would not be released, only saying this. “The mother will have to submit to a hair follicle test,” Teasley said.

A family friend told WSMV4 that the children were initially placed into foster care until she took them in at her Antioch home earlier this month where she said they will now return.

“This has got to end,” Teasley said.

The juvenile hearing on Monday was scheduled for the same time as a criminal hearing on the marijuana charges. Those charges will now be heard on April 18.