Columbus Home Children’s Shelter and Assessment Center (CESAC) is a safe haven for children removed from the home and awaiting longer-term placement. Columbus Home Children’s Shelter and Assessment Center (CESAC) is a 24 hour/365 days per year program that accepts children from birth to 17 years of age who have been removed from the home due to allegations of abuse, neglect or other endangerment known as adverse experiences. We provide care and shelter for children who have been taken from a situation of endangerment. During this time, they are not yet in state’s custody and are therefore ineligible for placement in foster or group homes. Our goal is to assist the courts in keeping children out of state’s custody and, if at all
possible, placing them with appropriate relatives and providing them with needed support services.

We help mitigate adverse childhood experiences through the Children Emergency Shelter and Assessment Center by allowing the Department of Children’s Services (DCS), Knox County Juvenile Court and other partner services the time for a long term placement; either a group home, foster care, or capable relatives. Children may remain in the shelter for up to 10 days, allowing the courts, the Department of Children’s Services, and Child Protective Services time to make a thorough assessment of the family situation before deciding on longer-term placement for the child. Physical, social/emotional and cognitive assessment of the
child is conducted by our staff and is a part of the placement recommendation.

Our work alone cannot meet all of our client’s needs, and we partner with numerous local community and governmental agencies. In fact, the CESAC was established in 2006 at the request of the Knox County Juvenile Court to meet the urgent needs of children and families. While both the City of Knoxville and Knox County provide some funding for the shelter, this covers only a small percentage of the costs involved in maintaining a 24/7 residential program. Additional funds needed are raised through a combination of public and private foundation grants and corporate and individual donors.

C.E.S.A.C has safely sheltered 125 children in the last year. 

Fast Facts

- Catholic Charities of East Tennessee served more than 3322 individuals last year.
- We offer nine innovative programs to serve anyone with demonstrated need, regardless of religious affiliation.
- We estimate that fewer than 5% of the neighbors we serve Catholic.


Our Clients

- Children who are victims of abuse, neglect, or other endangerment.
- Seniors, including the homebound, the homeless, and victims of elder abuse.
- Women and men preparing for the arrival of an unplanned baby.
- Homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS or with chronic mental health issues.
- Families in hardship, including immigrants, refugees, and rural Appalachian families.


c/o 119 Dameron Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37917
(865) 544-0578

Program Leader: Tim Martindale – 865-684-1881 or

in partnership with:

Administrative Office • 119 Dameron Avenue • Knoxville, TN 37917 • 865-524-9896