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Division of Mental Health Services

Office of Children and Youth (OCY)

Respite Services

For more information about Respite Services, please contact: Louise Barnes at 615-532-6727 or

PLANNED RESPITE:   The planned respite service is for families of children identified with Serious Emotional Disturbance ages two (2) to fifteen (15).  This service trains parents to identify and train their own respite providers for their child with Serious Emotional Disturbance, while providing some immediately needed respite.

This service addresses the first barrier to getting respite: finding an appropriate respite provider. Planned Respite services are available at eight (8) sites across the state, and are located in Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Oak Ridge, and Johnson City.

TDMHSAS provides funding in the amount of $670,600 annually for Planned Respite. In FY12, 282 children in 225 families were served by a Planned Respite program.
For information on a local program near you, contact:

Memphis (Shelby County) – Loretta Rhodes – 901-353-5440, X.367
Jackson (Madison County) – Cynthia Mosher – 731-664-2111, X.28
Nashville (Davidson County) – LaQuinta Burns – 615-279-6747
Chattanooga (Hamilton County) – Connie Ripley – 423-634-8884, X.4410
Murfreesboro (Rutherford County) – Linda Reed – 615-890-4622
Gallatin (Sumner County) – Julia Combs – 615-452-1354, X.25
Oak Ridge (Anderson and Knox Counties) – Debby Watts – 865-482-1076, X.1159
Johnson City (Washington County) – Lisa Christian – 423-232-2665

RESPITE VOUCHER PROGRAM:  A self-directed respite voucher program for families of children identified with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) or dually diagnosed with SED and autism to enable them to purchase respite as needed. This service addresses the second barrier to respite: finding the means to pay an appropriate respite provider.

This service is available statewide, but has limited funding.  The Respite Voucher program is available to enrolled families. In FY12, 167 families were served by the Respite Voucher program. This program also maintains a Respite Helpline, which parents can call to find out about available lifespan respite services across the state for caregivers of persons of any age, with any disability.

For more information on this program or other available respite resources, or to enroll in the Respite Voucher program, contact the Tennessee Respite Coalition’s  Respite Helpline at 1-888-579-3754, or visit

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