Teen Mom 2 alum Jenelle Evans was finally granted custody of her eldest son, Jace Evans, in March 2023, after more than a decade of battling with her mom, Barbara Evans. Just months later, the women were back in court amid an investigation into Jenelle and her husband, David Eason, by Child Protective Services (CPS). Does the former MTV star still have custody of her teenage son?

When Did Jenelle Evans Get Custody of Jace?

On March 18, 2023,  Jenelle revealed she and her mother “decided together” that she would take over custody of Jace.

“We want to build our relationship back as mother and daughter,” the former MTV personality told Us Weekly. “My mother agrees it’s time for Jace to be back with his siblings and living with a mother and father. She also thinks it’s important for Jace to be around a father figure to learn ‘boy things’ and have ‘men talk.’”

Jenelle added that her mother “has seen the way David parents” and “knows they’ll be able to handle it.”

Just five months after regaining custody, however, Jenelle became the target of mom-shamers after Jace was reported missing twice in a two-week span. While the teenager was found within hours after disappearing on each occasion, Jenelle took to social media to share some insight into the situation. 

“My son has been having a hard time for the past 2, 3 years. None of this has gone public because we’re trying to keep his privacy,” she said on August 30, one day after his second disappearance. “Me and my mom, when she gave me custody, she’s like ‘Oh, we’re just getting along. I’m just gonna give Jenelle back [custody].’ Well, there was a big reason behind why I got him back. For reasons we’re not gonna discuss cause like I said, it’s my son’s privacy. But I will say one thing: Monitor your kids’ phones.”

Prior to the March 18, 2023, announcement, the former reality star took to social media on February 21, 2023, to tease exciting news coming soon.

“I’m about to achieve the unthinkable and cannot wait to share the news with everyone,” she wrote via Twitter (now X). While the North Carolina native remained mum about the topic of her news, fans were quick to speculate about a new career path or possible pregnancy.

“You are getting Jace back??!! Finally!” one follower commented. Jenelle later added fuel to the custody speculation as she responded to a troll who called her “ratchet.”

“You sound ratchet asf for someone making money off having a kid their mama’s STILL raising [sic],” the comment from February 22 read, referring to Barbara’s custody of Jace.

The Read Between the Lines author responded with an upside-down face emoji, saying, “Can’t wait to share my new to you this week about my case [sic].”

Does Jenelle Evans Still ​Have Custody of Jace?

The TV personality faced major struggles after she was regranted custody of Jace. Within the first six months of fully living with Jenelle, Jace ran away three times.

The MTV kid was first reported missing by the Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Department on August 15, after he hid in the trees behind his school and was found via Snapchat location. Two weeks later, Jenelle contacted the authorities after not being able to get in contact with her son for hours. He was found at a local gas station 10 miles away from their home.

Teen Mom's Jenelle Evans Says She’s ‘Getting a Lot of Hate’ After Son Jace Ran Away Twice
Courtesy of Jenelle Evans/Instagram

Jace ​ran away for the third time on September 28, 2023, after sneaking out of his window without his cell phone and was later found and taken to the hospital. On October 2, 2023, Jenelle’s manager exclusively told In Touch that Jace was not currently at Jenelle’s home and the MTV star was being investigated by CPS.

“CPS got involved when Jace was checked into [the] hospital,” ​Jenelle’s manager said. “Jace is still in the hospital yes, they are doing a mental health evaluation.”

Jenelle and Barbara were back in court over custody of the teen following his third runaway attempt, after Jace allegedly told his grandmother that stepdad David “assaulted” him.

“Everyone thinks it’s investigating our other kids about child abuse and neglect [however] it’s about our son. In the court they don’t even bring up David’s name,” she told The Messenger on October 26, 2023, one day after their court appearance. “He is with [Barbara] temporarily and they are looking to possibly transport him somewhere else due to his behavior in the past.”

David was charged with felony assault by strangulation in January 2024. Jenelle has stood by her husband and denied any wrongdoing. CPS dropped the case against the couple in February 2024.

“All allegations against me and my husband have officially been dropped,” Jenelle shared in a TikTok video. “CPS took a voluntary dismissal and I wanted to be the first to let you guys know. I wasn’t going to share this information. I was actually gonna keep it private and just kind of give a vague statement, but right now, I need to control the narrative.”

Jenelle said that her focus was on Jace’s “mental health” after the charges against her and David were dropped. “I’m not gonna give any details about what happened pertaining to the case, but it will be shared eventually and soon. Just not right now,” she continued. “Someone is already leaking information to the media. Jace’s father or my mother, the only two people who knew the information. So right now, like I said, I’d appreciate it if everyone respects my son’s privacy so he can get his mental health in check and just know that I am super happy.”

How Long Did Barbara Evans Have Custody of Jace?

After welcoming Jace – whom she shares with high school boyfriend Andrew Lewis – in August 2009, Jenelle was still living her life and partying while leaving her mother to take care of the infant. The former reality star signed over custody of her son to Barbara in 2010 and the mother-daughter duo have been in and out of court for more than a decade over the matter.

In 2017, the custody agreement was amended to put in place a set visitation schedule for Jenelle.

“I’m not restricted to when my mom says I can have my son anymore,” Jenelle told E! News at the time. “At the moment that’s all I care about. [I] just want to spend time with my son. He will be home one day but today wasn’t the day, sadly.”

Four years later, Jenelle revealed in a January 2021 TikTok that Jace “lives with [her] now full-time.”

“This is a little PSA announcement,” Jenelle said in the video. “My kids are happy, they’re healthy. That’s all that f—king matters.”

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