Youth Villages stories

The Pierce family at a park

Intercept, with a little bit of hope, brings Cohen home to mom and dad

Feb 28, 2022 | Blog, Intercept

When Cohen was born in an East Tennessee hospital in 2019, he didn’t get to go home with his mom and dad. Substance use had already broken his family, and the baby joined his five brothers and sisters in foster care.

Nationwide statistics tell us that one in three children are entering foster care now because of parental substance use. It is a devastating national epidemic that has been in part overshadowed by COVID-19.

Jordan and Cody Pierce had been working to overcome their addictions and bring their family back together, but it had been a hard road, filled with steps forward and back.

Through it all, the Pierces believed in their family and fought to put the pieces of their lives back together.

Kaki Reynolds at the Knox County Safe Baby Court referred the family to Youth Villages’ intensive in-home services program, Intercept, and Family Intervention Specialist Shanddrikka Dodson.

She supported the Pierces as they completed rehabilitation programs and worked to fulfill all the court requirements. As each child came home, Dodson was there to pave the way, help the parents learn communication skills and make sure the children were transitioning well from foster care to home. She also helped with practical things, like making sure there were enough beds.

“I think Youth Villages was vital to this family’s success,” Reynolds said. “They were helping Jordan and Cody navigate parenting six children together for the first time after months of separation. It brought a lot of comfort to the team to know that there was a trusted provider seeing them regularly.”

Finally, Cohen – the toddler who had spent his entire life in foster care – came home to be with his parents and his siblings who love him so much.

“This is the first time that we can breathe,” Jordan Pierce said. She has advice for other parents facing the same journey. “Never give up,” she said. “Even if there’s just a shred of hope, hold on!”