Why did mom lose 9 kids? She was poor, had ‘attitude,’ social worker says

Shameca Burt, left, shows a suitcase full of papers and filings in her 20 years of fighting the legal and political machinery whose state actors kidnapped her nine children for profit. At right is Marianne Tulis, 94, hearing about her story. (Photo David Tulis)

Shameca Burt is a remarkable pro se litigant who has pursued claims regarding the seizure of her nine children in U.S. district court in Chattanooga. The following is text from an affidavit she filed in a civil case. One action is styled Shemeca Burt in persona propria (in her natural fleshly person) vs. Tennessee child support division, department of human services, commissioner designee Barbara Broersma, fiscal director Bishakha Van-Voris, hearing officer Amanda Tonkin, legal assistant Debra Bradley and DHS employee Vicky Wilmoth.

A summary of the case cites the constitution of the U.S. and state employees’ actions under pretense of law.

“This is a case alleging Defendants individually and together and or, in their official capacity, jointly committed intentional gross negligence and or, as a matter of unconstitutional policy, aided, abetted and violated Plaintiff’s rights protected under the Constitution of the United States and state constitution; violated federal laws, conspired to defraud, obstruct justice, denied liberty and seizure of Plaintiff’s property under color of law.

“This is a case in which Plaintiff’s natural and constitutional rights have been infringed and  equal protection under the law, caused Plaintiff’s loss of property, financial loss and personal harm.

“This case brings up for review: state policies that are unconstitutional and discriminatory in practice and that intentionally fail to provide equal protection under the law and fail to ensure litigants due process, a natural right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

[Editor’s note. This document is a transcript of an interview between Mrs. Burt and social worker Jackie Thomas in Chattanooga. It’s full of ebonics, Mrs. Burt says, and can be confusing. It needs editing, clearly, but went into the court system as is, or in a form close to this one. Bold added to help you find the most revealing material.] — David Tulis

Shameca Burt says she is fighting for her children because when they find her, she wants to be able to assure them she fought for them tirelessly in love. The state severed her parental rights successively to nine children, based on injuries caused to her first child from a broken water heater in the Cromwell government slum. (Photo David Tulis)

Peek into state-based child trafficking: The affidavit of Shameca Burt

I, Shameca Burt, 43, being of sound mind and body, testify that I live in *** , in Chattanooga, and I hereby aver the following.

In the interest of Justice and full Disclosure, I hereby present the below sworn statements and Affidavit of Truth for all who consider.

I am of sound mind, and in good standing as a Citizen of the State of Tennessee an as a Citizen of the United States of America. In 2000 I was enrolled at Urban League of Greater Chattanooga certified in Word, Excel, Access and Power point. I was also apart of the Welfare to Work Program in the year of 1996 signed by President Bill Clinton August 22, 1996.  I was a single mother with two children in search of training, and education that would break me from the (AFDC) AIDS TO FAMILIES WITH DEPENDENT CHILDREN block grant to the (TANF) Temporary Assistance for Needy Children. Through this program I was able to enroll in program like Dottie Voltz BSN., Medical Clerical Brainerd Rd with certified medical terminology certificate.  

I volunteered for the Eastlake Courts Chattanooga Housing Authority as a recording secretary for the Residence Association in 2004-2005.  I started “Were Still Here” on February 23, 2008 for Families who lost custody of their children. I am an unpublished author of two books and a writer of poetry.  Presently, I am and advocate for re-instituting “enforceable due process for Child Protective Services and Department of Children Services. Brian A. v. Haslam was a lawsuit won and filed by, Children’s Rights in 2000, along with a team of local counsel in Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, brought a legal reform campaign against the state of Tennessee on behalf of all children in foster care, alleging major systemic problems which were harming the very children the state was supposed to protect. (OVERWORKED caseloads over 40 children were not unusual. One region had caseloads as high as 80 children per social worker.  Department of Children Services exited from 16 years of Federal oversight July 18, 2017.

I have extensively studied the Constitution of the United States of America various state constitutions, various Federalist papers, other founding documents as well as local, state and federal court rules of procedure and evidence. Various literary works pertaining to judicial proceedings. Many persons, including legal professionals, radio hosts, advocates consider me knowledgeable in matters of constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Personal record of meeting

On July 24, 2017, I attended a meeting with Child Protective Services Social worker Jackie A. Thomas at 1907 Bailey Avenue 37404. Present was Stacy Jones a friend of the family who I have known throughout the years. Jackie Thomas is an acquaintance of Stacy Jones.  Stacy had explained to me on several occasions how Jackie Thomas wanted to tell me how she knew the system “SCREWED ME. I personally witnessed and recorded our meeting with Jackie Thomas consent as you will read throughout the affidavit at approximately 12:30 AM. pursuant to Tennessee one party consent (T.C.A 40-6-303) 18 U.S.C § 2511 (2) (d)

Around 12:30 Stacy and I walked through an alleyway behind Redemption of the Nation Church Administration offices, where we were greeted and escorted through the doors to Jackie Thomas’ office.

20-minute interview begins

Shameca Burt: Lord Have mercy, but you can tell who love their family and love their kids the things they go through to prove to them that.

Stacy Jones: But I don’t want you to be down like shit, like you aint gave it your all because your kids don’t understand that you know what I’m saying they can’t take that out on you.

Shameca Burt: But they have even though I try to do everything I can to show them that I love them.

Stacy Jones: Yeah, you have; but you have to give it to God and you still have to live your life because you still got to be here; you got grandbabies; beautiful they ain’t going be holding none of that; you get what I’m saying? Just like I tell my children. “I’m going to get old” “they not” none of that what you tell our children.  You can dog they daddy out and they daddy never do nothing for them they go around him anyway.

[ Open back door]  Jackie Thomas: “Hey”

Shameca Burt: [Walking in] Hey.

Shameca Burt: You’re hidden back here, aren’t you?

Jackie Thomas: Yeah, I am.

Shameca Burt: This white chair is beautiful. Have you been in here before, Stacy?

Jackie Thomas; It is once I finish unpacking this stuff.

Stacy Jones: I told you her office was across the street

Shameca Burt: I brought some papers. After we talk, or after you talk to me, I want to  —

Stacy Jones [to Shameca Burt]: Do you mind me being in here?

Shameca Burt: Um, you’re my friend;  and, um, you know what’s going on and you know what happened. You know how I feel. I’m just blessed and glad to be here to talk to you; I’m getting emotional [weeping]. Now, because, for a long time I hated everybody up there.

Jackie Thomas: Um, hum.

Shameca Burt: I thought about, I seriously thought about it: got to be some revenge in this: and although I was young and might have seemed feisty, that’s who I am —

Jackie Thomas: Umm, Hmm.

Shameca Burt: — With anyone I feel is trying to interrogate me, but if they’re not that way with me, I feel like this is a level thing that I can understand, then I’m good as gold.

Jackie Thomas: Um, hmm.

Shameca Burt: Those people have incriminated me. I’m a felon. People think I’m a child abuser.

‘In and out of these courtrooms’

Jackie Thomas; Umm Hmm.

Shameca Burt: My kids continue to come home and ask me why, and I’m having trouble with them, even today I feel like they resent me [catching her breath]. And I always try to buy my kids back, but it’s not working. [CRYING] um, I can’t get no job. I just feel so worthless. And — and — I paid my child support off. Emma Andrews — she even congratulated me in the courtroom.  She was, like, “Out of all these men out here who got kids” — She said you have nine of them, and I’ve seen you in and out of these courtrooms on these cases with your kids.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt: Speaking up on your truth on your behalf “She said just relax now congratulate yourself; you ain’t got to see my no more. From then on out she don’t work up there anymore.

Jackie Thomas: Nah, umm hmm. got a new judge, new referee —

Shameca Burt: But Elisabeth Ellis drove me through the mud —  

Jackie Thomas: Umm, humm.

Shameca  Burt: — I tried with that woman. She was a young caseworker who they gave me. I asked her when I first met her, “Do you have kids?” She said, “No, I never had kids.” So I said, “How can you talk to me about how to be a mother or what I suppose to do as far as being a mother?” She was like 26 and I was 35. I was older than her.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, umm.

Shameca Burt: This story kinda goes back and forth. Initially, it started with Barbara Mason, who is of my cousin who never had custody of her own son, Be-Be, who is my cousin; and, um, when we took my son to the hospital, I took him. My cousin Tiffany was one of the ones in and out on this case petitioning for kids, umm, told me that Barbara was our family member. “You know I didn’t know her. When I first met her she came to me like this was gone be sweeped under the rug.“ Like were going to investigate this and then we go home.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt: “So that’s how I took it. When I brought him [WHO IS THIS] to the hospital that night and they had cops and all of these people coming to the hospital, Detective Josh Meyers — Do you remember him?

Jackie Thomas: I don’t necessarily remember who was on call.  I remember the case, cause I was the actual supervisor on call. So, I remember the initial call and what initially happened. Because I was the supervisor on call when it call — when it came. Let me say this — and I’m going to listen to you, and I don’t want you to have to try go all the way back.

Shameca Burt: I, I remember it.

‘What got you was your attitude’

Jackie Thomas: Because I know you do remember as far as what happened to you; But I think you need to, like you said, you was just hating everybody there. But what you didn’t understand was, there, we all was not sitting back hoping you lost your children. We were all there saying — not agreeing to what and how they were doing things. But if you don’t have control over things, there is nothing you can do. And I’m going to say this straight, and I’m going to be straightforward. I hope Stacy told you, because I’m straight forward that when you came in your absolutely right cause I actually remember I was on call. Your baby had a mark on his back, and actually the mark you said he got burned in the bathtub. Actually, in all reality, that same night as the supervisor on call, I knew somebody [who] lived in Cromwell [housing project of affiant] and I called and said, “Hey do you’ll water temperatures get over — real real hot?” They said, “Yeah, you really have to watch it ‘cause it really will. The water temperature do get real, real hot.” So we already knew that, what got you Tameca — is it Shameca or Tameca?

Shameca Burt: Shameca.

Jackie Thomas: What got you was your attitude. Yeah you were young and feisty, but it’s how you do it. When you dealing with systems, not making an excuse for them — and not saying it’s right —

[Phone call interruption] ***

Jackie Thomas: Hold on one minute.

Shameca Burt: OK.

Jackie Thomas: Yeah, it was strictly your attitude, ’cause let me tell you, you had some good case managers along the way that was really rooting for you. I think you may have had Darlene, and one time you had Debra [Harvey]. “I remember you finishing — think you finished, whatever they told you to finish.

Shameca Burt: I did.

Jackie Thomas: The reality of this is this: The burn that your son had on his back, that’s the only child that had some issues, right?

Shameca Burt: Exactly.

Jackie Thomas: That’s the only child had some issues.

Shameca Burt: Right.

Jackie Thomas: Anybody else and I’m not, you know — when it comes to justice, people have different attitudes towards cases and all that. And sometimes, it get out of our hands and it gets into the attorney’s hand, and I’m goin’ be honest with you. [Department of Children Services attorney] Ray Neal was a low down so and so.

Shameca Burt: He hated me — he hated —

Jackie Thomas: I’m not going to get into him! But I just —

Shameca Burt: — And so did Kathy Morrow.

Jackie Thomas: Let me say this to you, when your dealing with a system and those are the legal people that says this and that “ THAT’S ALL YOU CAN DO” them the, those are the legal people.

Jackie Thomas: Those are the people who say, “Take custody of the baby.” “Take this” — because we couldn’t believe he was going all the way to Florida [near where affiant had traveled and gone into labor]. I don’t even know how they knew you was having a baby. Wherever you had a baby, they knew.

Shameca Burt: I wanted to ask you that. But listen.

Jackie Thomas: I don’t know.

Shameca Burt: Because listen, guess who sent me down there; remember when I was on probation?

[Interruption for phone call]

Shameca Burt: You remember when I was on probation, remember? After this case they put me on 10-year probation.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt: Mildred Taylor, who used to work for ya’ll, coming to me, I’ve got friends down there — they told me how they how they railroaded you. She said, “But you got to play it cool.” So I got pregnant again.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt:  She was like a momma to me, right, today me and Mildred Taylor is cool. That was my P.O. [probation officer]. It’s like God sent me to her.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt: And she threw me some names. That’s how I ended up meeting Sherman Matthews. And he sent me to the Rainbow Coalition.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt: That’s how I met Chuck Kilpatrick.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt: But Chuck wouldn’t stop getting high: So I couldn’t deal with him.

Jackie Thomas: [Chuckling]

Shameca Burt: You know who I’m talking about?

Jackie Thomas: I know who your talking about  — Kilpatrick. Floyd Kilpatrick [Laughter].

Shameca Burt: I said this is not right to me. I’m trying to get my kids.

Jackie Thomas: But what you don’t understand, you see all them connections you got?

Shameca Burt: Umm, hmm.

Jackie Thomas: — Those are the people, whether you know it or not. Those are the people that were inside of there, fighting for you — even though you didn’t know they were. But what would happen, every time somebody would stand up and fight for you, a breakout seem to happen. And I’m going to tell you the last time I remember seeing you. You was pregnant with maybe your seventh child, I don’t know —

Shameca Burt: Umm, hmm. Umm, humm.

Jackie Thomas: But you had them two little girls. I remember who had them in their home [foster parents]. You was up there with the visit — five of your kids was there. You was pregnant. And I had been messing with your children. I had been messing with your children — and then playing with them. Then I left and went to my office and heard all this commotion.

Shameca Burt: Me and Elisabeth.

Jackie Thomas: — When I got up and and —

Shameca Burt: I’m going to tell ya.

Jackie Thomas: — And you — and — and: Let me tell you what I saw. I’m going to tell you the scene that I saw. I saw you — and you was Oprah Winfrey.

Shameca Burt: [Chuckling.]

Jackie Thomas: I ain’t lying. I ain’t trying to be funny. You was Oprah Winfrey and all those people was around you was attacking you, and you were fighting back the best way you knew how.

Shameca Burt: Umm, hmm.

Jackie Thomas: And so, when I saw that —

Shameca Burt: Lord have mercy.

Jackie Thomas: The first thing I did was what I do to you? Un-ungh [no]. We ain’t gone do this right here.

Shameca Burt: Um, humm; go outside sure did;

Jackie Thomas: I said there is a street way and there’s another way.

Shameca Burt: Yeah.

Jackie Thomas: I took you into that room to calm down, because it didn’t make sense to me —

Shameca Burt: Yeah.

Jackie Thomas:  — Somebody that was seven months pregnant that got their five children around whose visit was going fine two minutes ago —

Shameca Burt: Right.

Jackie Thomas: I walk around the corner and now you got security coming to arrest a pregnant woman who can’t do nothing. See, you didn’t realize the people that was for you. That same day I sat down and sent an email to Jackie Jolly — no lie.

Shameca Burt: I can’t stand her.

Jackie Thomas: I know you can’t, but I probably still got my email, I keep everything.

Shameca Burt: Oooh, OK.

Jackie Thomas: If I ain’t threw it away because I keep everything, I told Jackie Jolly you’ll treated that lady worse than you treat a “DOG AND ITS FIVE PUPS” and I put it in writing.

Jackie Thomas: But see, what you don’t realize —

Shameca Burt: Oh, my God.

Jackie Thomas: What you don’t realize, Shameca, is you were so — and I understand you was angry, and you didn’t know how to deal with your anger just to play along the system. Because we done had babies with broken bones, shaken baby syndrome that we done gave their children back. We knew that. But you have to, you got to stop. I know you will never let it go. But you have to realize — and even though you thought people were against you, it was so much we could do. Because we had a family to feed” and “we had a job to do” and we could only.

Shameca Burt: I was told,  you remember; I think it was you and Pamela Ramsey when you’ll took me downstairs and prayed.

Jackie Thomas; that, that was the last.

Shameca Burt: In that back room.

Jackie Thomas: Right.

Jackie Thomas: But see, this is the thing. You walked in there by yourself. We took you back there and — what we tell you to do?  “Go get somebody.” [attorney].

Shameca Burt: Yeah.

Jackie Thomas: You leave here now go get somebody to come in that meet with you. We couldn’t just directly tell you stuff, Shaneca, we couldn’t you might’ve been not young enough to understand but we couldn’t just directly tell you stuff. But what we was trying to do was help you. “Don’t go in this meeting by yourself because if you’re by yourself [without attorney], they’re going to do the same thing they’ve been doing to you.”

Shameca Burt: Girl, they took me in there and draw this big circle [eco gram].

Jackie Thomas: umm hmm

Shameca Burt: And tell you about your family, I’m like what is this place? What are these people? Well your daddy, you daddy was a drug dealer. Your Grandaddy was this. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Jackie Thomas: Yeah, well the do the ecogram to see your back history they try to develop what your history and your background is and all of that type stuff. That’s what they do. That’s what they were doing at the time.

Shameca Burt: Why wouldn’t they never let any of my family members get my kids? Remember my Aunt went and build that house and got all the stuff for them.

Jackie Thomas: I’m going to tell you why!

Shameca Burt: I had everybody petitioning. They broke my family up.

Jackie Thomas: I’m going to tell you why, but Shameca, you might not know it, but everybody had attitudes. You might don’t know it but everybody had attitudes. And when they was dealing with;  I didn’t deal with them people would come back and you listen; they got a bad attitude and we think she gone give them back to her.

Jackie Thomas: Let me say this; whatever you did — but Ray Neal. “he don’t like a lot of clients” he retired now “but he don’t like a lot of clients.” But never the less when an attorney say this that’s who they going to listen to.

Shameca Burt: umm hmm.

Shameca Burt ; I feel like Bruce Owens and Ray Neal were best friends.

Jackie Thomas: They really were not, they — they Ray Neal nahh they weren’t [indecipherable].

Shameca Burt: Robert Pyle told me this; I don’t know how true you can say this is; the bank of America  building downtown on the 16th or 17th floor where attorney’s meet have drinks

Jackie Thomas: Umm Humm.

Shameca Burt: Do whatever social, he said they were at a Christmas party. Robert Pyle, you remember he was my attorney?

Jackie Thomas: Umm Hmm

Shameca Burt:  He said they were at a Christmas Party and Kathy Morrow, he said he rolled over to her; and they were talking in a circle.

Jackie Thomas: Umm Hmm

Shameca Burt: Robert say,  “Kathy why are you so hard on my client?” She’d say, who are you talking about — Ms. Burt?

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Hot water injury start of Burt ordeal

Shameca Burt: He’d say yeah, Shameca Burt. She’d say, “I just don’t like her.”

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm, And that’s reality! I’m not trying to be funny, Shaneca, that’s just reality. On, and that’s the truth

Shameca Burt: “tears” I LOST MY CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY JUST DIDN’T LIKE ME..I couldn’t get them back; and why you didn’t get them back. Because you had people like know she is just this horrible person.

Jackie Thomas: But “NOBODY” looked at the fact that you only. That it was only one child. and it was that, even though they said it was a severe burn, I don’t even know:

Shameca Burt: It was only his left foot;

Jackie Thomas: I thought it was the back.

Shameca Burt: It was on the left foot.

Jackie Thomas: I thought it was on the back were like a child had moved and backed up into like the sink thing and it was a little mark on the back because that’s what it was made

Shameca Burt: I been wanting to ask you that to, my cousin Tiffany said you’ll called them up there to a meeting at the DCS building.

Jackie Thomas: They may have but see I got out of it. Once I’m on call, let me explain to you how DCS works. I was the supervisor on call. Once I’m on call the supervisor for that week I’m off. The case goes to Child Protective Services, that’s when I was [in] juvenile justice. So I didn’t deal with it anymore. I just happened to be on call at the time that call came in, and then followed up with trying to see if the water was extremely hot out there [in Shameca Burt apartment]. And all of that, and passing that on.

Shameca  Burt: It was 151.6 [degrees].

Jackie Thomas: Passing that information on. But see it didn’t matter. If — If — it didn’t matter because all these little court systems here, they know each other. They talk in the back room; they can’t let nobody know they talking in the back room; “BUT THEY TALKING IN THE BACK ROOM”

INTERRUPTION: [Stacey phone call]

Jackie Thomas: Your reputation was: She crazy. She don’t want to listen to nobody. She ain’t do what you tell her; she gonna do whatever she want to do, because I was thinking one time they said you almost completed everything [permanancy plan]

Shameca Burt: I did. Completed anger Management, Deborah Harvey helped me get the housing in Eastlake. Umm they told me to go to anger management. I completed that, they said I got, got to continue my child support. I paid that. Kept odd ends jobs until I got my disability. Paid that.

INTERRUPTION (Stacy phone call)

Shameca Burt: And all the way until we got to Z they said we forgot to tell you your kids have been adopted off.

Jackie Thomas: Well, they couldn’t have adopted them off unless they had Terminated your uhh. ***

Shameca Burt: I’m telling you they were buying.

INTERRUPTION [Stacy Phone call]

Shameca Burt: Caller greets us.

Jackie Thomas: exclaim to caller


Shameca Burt: Then, they try to bring up the fact I was in a relationship. Do you remember that a boy cut me up?

Jackie Thomas: Well, I was only in it initially. When I would see you I didn’t have nothing to do with your case. I was the supervisor on call that night and once that was over, Child Protective Services took over. That’s who Barbara work for — Child Protective Services.

Shameca Burt: What did Barbara tell you? What did she say? That’s crazy they couldn’t find no foster home, OK, these are the people who said I abuse my child. Guess what they made me do? These are the people that said I abused my child, admitted him into the hospital because they couldn’t find a foster care; made me stay with him two nights. Then foster care came and got him.

Jackie Thomas: Because.

Shameca Burt: But how can you do that?

Jackie Thomas: Listen, because the goal is when DCS remove your child is “REUNIFICATION” it’s “always” been reunification and at that point they were responsible for working with you. DCS didn’t want to pay anybody to probably do what they should’ve been paying somebody to do.

Shameca Burt: That’s right!

Jackie Thomas: We always ask the parent to — irregardless.

Shameca Burt: they never ask,

Jackie Thomas: We ask the parent to stay with the child if they can. But even in Barbara case, Barbara sit down and tell what’s going on.

Shameca Burt: She was a point blank lie. I called her a white folks nigger; and it went to court. Bruce Owens Referee Owens Asked me; Ms. Burt, he thought I would lie. He said but I wanted to laugh but it was a serious matter in court.  I want to ask you a question, something is bothering Ms. Harvey I mean Ms. Mason: I said what is it? He said that Ms. Mason said that I called her a; He’d act like he couldn’t get it out. ‘A white Folks”, I said nigger. I said I did say that.  He’d say what did you mean by that then I explained it to him.

Shameca Burt: I seen a Black Woman that came in after I brought my child to the hospital; I thought she was going to be understanding of what’s going on, I’ve got issues out here in  Cromwell were the water gets real hot sometimes we don’t have no hot water. Sometimes its straight just cold water. I said I put in work order they come and fix on the hot water heater and we back on. She went out; I said ma’am will you please go out there and test the water to see that I’m telling you the truth. Her and Detective Josh Meyer went to test the water. She came into the room we see that the water is hot but its just not adding up.  You have two grandparents there, in the paper work it says great great grandparents that was “frail.” they lied about that my grandma and grandad was staying with me because their house had caught a fire on 1154 East Main Street. By this same little boy while I was gone to the Bi-Lo went to the store and set the house on fire. So they were living with me because they were getting their house fixed through their insurance. But, anyway to make a long story short she just came for me. And I don’t know why.  Didn’t ask me if I had no family that my kids can go with. I it was just straight DCS and I come from a whole deep line of family. You know what I’m saying? They didn’t even consider none of that.

Jackie Thomas: I think I remember, honestly, really remember them considering somebody, but they either it wasn’t that’s just; this been 20 years ago. Uh, as though that person they was considering either they didn’t feel as though she would protect the child, or either they would let you have the children.  Or they had an “ATTITUDE.” I don’t remember,know, I don’t know. Don’t you know they finally put my kids with [my] ex-husband, that girl was beating on my them over there;

Jackie Thomas: You talking about Tasha.

Shameca Burt: Tasha,who is in the jail now, it’s just funny stuff, turn around and work out. I mean, they really destroyed them kids. You know how Shaila? Stacy knows. And I try my best to love them. We going to go out get our hair done and were going to chill and blah blah blah. They still — they’re broken. And I can’t help it.

Jackie Thomas: Well, let me tell you this, Shaneca.

Shameca Burt: Hold that

Jackie Thomas: Do you see that wall right there? Im going to as simple as I can tell ya. If I put pictures on that wall and In push nails all the way in that wall right?

Shameca Burt: umm  humm

Jackie Thomas: Take them pictures down then im going to plug the holes up right? But the hole is still there:

Shameca Burt: Yeah.

Jackie Thomas: That’s just like children all the wounds still there; you know they may cover them up, but there still there. So it doesn’t matter. your not going to be able to make up to your children what you think you should be making up to them.  What is it you should be making up to them? Your children have to know and understand that, “hey” I tried to get you’ll back; I tried to do this. They need to know that they need to hear that.

Jackie Thomas: They need to hear!  Yeah your momma might have, this is what they say, that may not be all the way true. A lot of kids come into custody that way but their going to have to still be able to accept that. Because you can’t change what happened to them when they went to their daddy.

Shameca Burt: The last four boys I don’t know where they at; Robert Pyle call, me he said um “you they been trying to call you: I said they ain’t tried to call me. I said who tried to call me. “DCS” he said Jomanna almost died: He said they where looking for you but couldn’t find your number: you and him have the same blood type.

Shameca Burt: Come to find out that Jomanna is full blooded Sickle Cell, he needed my blood they claim they tried to find me: so he said they finally flew some blood from somewhere.

Jackie Thomas: O your baby Sickle Cell?

Shameca Burt: Yes my mom had the trait: I have the trait but evidently he has the disease.

Jackie Thomas: O because the daddy must had it.

Shameca Burt: That’s low down Ray Neal would not even let them call me

Jackie Thomas; Now how old are your children now?

Shameca Burt: Um, the oldest?

Jackie Thomas: The oldest; Did Mrs. Anderson adopt them didn’t it? Charolette Anderson?

Shameca Burt: Umm Mrs. Charlotte. Oh, I love Charlotte; she let me see them.

Jackie Thomas: She had your oldest boy and you daughter? Because see they went to my church, New Horizon. So I would see them all then time.

Shameca Burt: Um, humm

Jackie Thomas: Your oldest boy and oldest daughter.

Shameca Burt: Honey they are at the house all the time. Am I right or wrong?

Jackie Thomas; I’m just saying!

Stacy Jones: she talking about Bre?

Shameca Burt: Bre and Mari.

Jackie Thomas: PEOPLE! “We followed you” I knew who your children were, they didn’t know who I was, but I always knew who your children were because they were with Mrs. Charolette.

Jackie Thomas: Mrs. Charolette is sweet; she is a good foster parent.

Shameca Burt: I thanked her, too. She was never mean to me.

Jackie Thomas: But Johnetta at one time had the girls.

Shameca Burt: She had Jomanna. Johnetta Lane.

Jackie Thomas: We placed both of the girls. Because I was over placement, that’s what I was over we placed both of them.

Shameca Burt: Johnetta Lane wasn’t no good. she had problems;

Jackie Thomas: Johnetta Lane was money hungry.

Shameca Burt: Yes she is very money hungry.

Jackie Thomas: She gone make sure your children dress, make sure they clean.

Shameca Burt: She didn’t do all that. And they aint gone be happy.

Jackie Thomas: She can be money hungry. She try to be real strict.

Shameca Burt: Yeah, she had Jomanna.

Jackie Thomas: She gone make sure they get a check for something.

Shameca Burt: That’s what I’m saying the more severe it is then higher the check go on the axis. Am I right or wrong?

Jackie Thomas: Yeah sometimes, yeah yeah.

‘The state cannot raise children’

Shameca Burt: Because I’ve been reading and researching on that; but yea it goes deep.  I’m so happy you talk to me. I do remember you, uhh.

Jackie Thomas: You have to just remember even though it seem like everybody was against you: everybody really wasn’t against you. But we couldn’t do it for you. It’s just like we can’t do anything for you. And I can say this, about you when you just sat here and said your son, that little boy; I think he was about two or three at the time. If your son at that time set a fire, he already had some kind of psychological issues.

Shameca Burt: I have the papers right here that’s why I brought them.

Jackie Thomas: He already had psychological issues but guess what?

Shameca Burt: They lied and said he didn’t

Jackie Thomas: But the State cannot raise children. State can’t raise children. Let me tell you this, I tell people all the time and they talking about children in foster care and when one in a community group. State can’t raise children. It’s a system. A system can’t raise you: You know I ain’t trying to be funny, but the system can’t nurture you. The system can’t love you, the system can’t do nothing but be a system; and the system got guidelines and rules and things that you can and cannot do. And so some things are outside of the box. The relationship I have with Stacy is just different. At the time when we came along, we cared about the kids. We may have worked with; we was in their homes sitting in the homes with the parents. Whatever, what we did is anything and everything

Shameca Burt: Was it wraparound services?

Jackie Thomas: It May have been wraparound services. But, listen, our job is to reunify families.

Shameca Burt; But that didn’t happen with me;

Jackie Thomas: I know it didn’t, and I’m sitting here telling you why it didn’t!  It did not happen with you because they felt that your attitude was the wrong. Not that it was right; by no means am I saying it’s right. But that is what’s the issue. You had the people that was making the shots and calls with the courts there, telling the court this and that. And you did not have a strong enough social worker that believed in you that was going to stand up in the court against Ray Neal.

Shameca Burt: Exactly.

Jackie Thomas: Let me just say this; that’s what you did not have.

Shameca Burt: That is why I contacted the ACLU.

Jackie Thomas: You didn’t have that.

Shameca Burt:  And the Rainbow Coalition. But I couldn’t deal with [coalition official] Floyd Kilpatrick. He had me thinking we were going to do some OO7 stuff. It was fun for a little while. We about to get in here, make all this go away. *** But he smart as a whip.

Jackie Thomas: And that’s just Kilpatrick: because it’s sad. He is an intelligent guy.

Stacy Jones: Is he a detective?

Jackie Thomas: Nah!

Shameca Burt: He kind of is.

Jackie Thomas: He has his law degree but he never passed the bar and won’t take his but back to school to pass the bar.

Shameca Burt: In Glenwood over there, with his mom and dad; yeah, real smart, good-looking man if he’d straighten himself up. But I was serious about my case — and he wanted $20 in the middle of the night. I’m like, look, I can’t deal with all this.

Jackie Thomas: Are your kids in custody? I mean counseling?

Shameca Burt: Now this what I’m saying. Imari when he got with Mrs. Charlotte;  Mrs. Charlotte like I said is a good woman; I can call her right now and tell her my problems. I don’t know why I said that —  OK [chuckling].

Jackie Thomas: It don’t matter; don’t worry. it ain’t going no farther

Shameca Burt: When My son got with Mrs Charlotte, he was accused of robbery; 16 robbery charges. Smart as a whip; graduated from Tyner High school with a engineering certificate.

Jackie Thomas: Oh, he is already graduated?

Shameca Burt: Yeah, he smart. Breana did, too.

Jackie Thomas: He, was he in that program — Gestamp?

Shameca Burt: Yeah.

INTERRUPT: [Jackie Thomas chats with Stacy Jones shortly]

Shameca Burt: I’m going back and forth to court now, with Christian because TT the same son  who they said I burned, burst my window out I had to pay $200 dollars to get my car fixed. Um he came to my house I let him stay a while. he said yea daddy told me; I said what you daddy tell you. He said you put him in jail; I said  o he aint tell you nothing else? Im talking about yea he was in jail that time: when this first happened for jumping on me.

INTERRUPTED ( Jackie Thomas and Stacy Jones had conversation)

Shameca Burt: But Breana, she was doing good. She graduated from Ooltewah staying with Mrs. Charolette.  She just had little boy problems just like me, but other than that — Tyrone, Tyshaila and Tyonna was living with their daddy; and now he has divested custody.

Jackie Thomas: Oh, he have divested custody?

Shameca Burt: Yes he didn’t want them from the beginning. But Elisabeth Ellis told him she can get him a car through you’ll program, project housing, and food stamps then he traded me: because we were still married:

Jackie Thomas: Umm Hmm I,

Shameca Burt: And trying to work this out but Elisabeth Ellis separated us in different rooms, and the preacher had just told us the night before: now you’ll need to stick together in this don’t you’ll separate you’ll fight this out.

Shameca Burt: But he saw a benefit.

Jackie Thomas: Did they get him a car?

Shameca Burt: They got him housing; but they didn’t get him no car;

Jackie Thomas: They aint gone get him no car:

Shameca Burt: She said it’s some type of program.

Jackie Thomas: (chuckle) It was at one time that they might fix your car. If they can fix your car; But all that stuff: them programs girl them programs, “other people were getting more money than the clients were getting, it was:

Shameca Burt: Right Right

Jackie Thomas: It was. It’s all about the person you’re working with:

Jackie Thomas: What is it? Let’s say were we are now: What is it now that that you’re wanting to do? What are your questions as far as this goes?

Shameca Burt: I am going to go viral because statute of limitations are two years and umm —

Jackie Thomas: For what? Statute of limitations?

Shameca Burt: Statute of limitations to go against CHA for once.

Jackie Thomas: CHA? OK.

Shameca Burt: My thing of the matter is even though the system they knew this water was hot, CHA knew, too: and they never tried to alleviate the problem.

Shameca Burt: The attorney that I had at that time was Jes Beard. Well, Jes Beard was a child of nine: he said his mom had nine children so he knew how it was to fall, go outside, come in the house crying — busted head. He said stuff like that happens to you.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt: I was eight months pregnant and had a child dealing with ADHD, and had three other kids. You know, you know — and during that time it was just a lot. I was married; he was in jail for domestic violence. I was helping my grandparents, living in the same Cromwell Housing unit ’til their house got fixed. So it’s like, I’m thinking of all this that happened. I started a support group; do you remember that?

Jackie Thomas: I remember when you was going to start a support group.

This Times Free Press story tells of how Mrs. Burt works to help other grieving mothers who’ve lost their children to state child traffickers.

Shameca Burt: Yeah, I did. I wrote a newspaper article. The white girl I started with would not stay off hydrocodones. We were getting in the newspaper and stuff and it just wasn’t looking right for me so. So I kind of backed out of it: but um What I want to do is bring this case out before someone because it has destroyed my life: Um, um. I can’t get a job because: I ain’t gone say I can’t get a job: but I am a felon. I have to wear that over my head. My kids have been told a lie.

Jackie Thomas: Umm, hmm.

Shameca Burt: They severed bonds between nine kids that don’t even know each other. Mari and Bre know each other. Tyrone, Tyshalia and Tyonna know each other because they stayed together. They was in custody awhile, but was separated from each other. But they finally got together with their daddy.

I swear the above and foregoing representations are true and correct to the best of my information, knowledge and belief.

— [signed and sworn] Shameca Burt

STATE OF TENNESSEE, COUNTY OF HAMILTON — I, the undersigned Notary Public, do hereby affirm that Shameca Burt personally appeared before me on the ______ day of  ________________________________________, and signed this affidavit as his free and voluntary act and deed.

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