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“This is enough” | East Tennessee parents can fight for custody of children through non-profit

An east Tennessee church isn’t just rebuilding faith, it’s reuniting children with their parents.
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 6:47 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - An east Tennessee church isn’t just rebuilding faith, it’s reuniting children with their parents.

Being a mother is not a title Kelly Parkey was given by default. Instead, had to earn the title.

“It’s like the best gift you’ll ever get in your life,” said Parkey. “Once you’ve lost it, you’re going to do whatever you have to do to get it back. And for my boys, I’ll go to the end of the world to get them back.”

For years, she couldn’t kick a drug addiction that kept her in and out jail and away from her two sons.

She eventually lost custody.

“I remember seeing the DCS paper. And it said, ‘hotel.. sleeping on the floor of her cousin’s hotel room...repeat addict. I said, yeah, this is enough,” Parkey said.

In that dark moment, she found a light that has pushed her to fight for her family.

The Hill Church in Tazewell has given her a glimmer of hope.

Susan Stone runs the church’s non-profit, Live Free, and has helped parents like Parkey. The non-profit offers a program providing free legal aid and other resources needed for parents to regain custody of their kids.

“We also have a recovery program where we’re also trying to help those who aren’t ready yet,” Stone said.

Aside from learning there are more than 9,000 children in state custody, Stone said this mission is personal.

“I loss a child to substance abuse and I feel lead to help others,” Stone said.

A judge granted Parkey shared custody of her kids, but with the help of Live Free she told WVLT News she’s going for full custody.

The non-profit is inviting parents alike to the church Aug. 28 for a free reunification workshop. The event starts at 9:30 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. located at 1216 Cedar Fork Rd, Tazewell, TN.

All are invited to join and work with the non-profit.

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