State program helps drivers get back on the road after losing license

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It's no secret, once you've built up a mountain of unpaid fines and lost your driver's license it's hard to climb your way out.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services has created a partnership called Cycles of Success. The goal is to help curb the cycle of poverty and help families get back on their feet.

"I really want to better myself, I really wanna do what's good for me and my kids," said Kassie Small, who says she lost her driver's license about two years ago from unpaid fines.

Not having reliable transportation makes things difficult, like going to work, buying groceries, taking children to the doctor and paying off those bills.

"There's been times when I've had enough to pay off two or three of my fines but I didn't have enough to pay off my reinstatement," Small said.

But she's getting some help.

Jeannie Kosciolek is an attorney with Memphis Area Legal Services, an agency that has partnered with DHS to help people like Small get her affairs in order.

She helps clients with various legal issues like tenant-landlord disputes, child support and debt issues, and many clients do not have valid drivers licenses.

"The first thing is, we identify the problems, then obviously we have time where we're trying to work out a case management plan so we can address these issues as they come and, in essence, you're triaging what's the most important thing, what's the most pressing."

Small said while it's a long road, now she has hope.

"I'm grateful that people had a chance to get together to see what we're going through and put a plan together to make it better for the people that is trying to have something in life."