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Division of Mental Health Services

Office of Children & Youth

Respite Services
Respite is temporary relief for caregivers and families. It is a short-term, temporary break for the primary caregiver of children needing constant care to enable the primary caregiver to continue giving quality care after the break. Respite care is vitally important in preventing parental burnout, maintaining the integrity of the nuclear family, and preventing emergencies which threaten the family structure.

Respite is essential to maintaining quality of life for families and is often referred to as the gift of time. Respite gives relief to families and caregivers from the extraordinary and intensive demands of providing ongoing care. It helps keep families together and keeps them healthier, happier, and more productive by assisting them in finding time to get away and reduce stress related to constant care giving.

Parents of a child with a disability can experience isolation, frustration, and depression when they cannot get an occasional break from constant care giving. Families who have children with special health /emotional needs need time away to refresh and re-energize or take care of personal business. By providing respite care, stress will be reduced, and families will be more likely to continue to care for their children with disabilities.

Planned Respite
Planned respite is a model program that provides planned respite services to families of children identified as seriously emotionally disturbed or dually-diagnosed (emotionally disturbed and mentally retarded). Children must be between the ages of 2-17.

Respite consultants provide short-term respite, work with the family to identify, and train long-range respite resources.

Individualized Family Respite Plans are developed with the family and may include short-term direct respite care by staff, identification of possible respite resources, determination of child learning characteristics, and behavior patterns that interfere with the family’s ability to secure respite. Respite consultants enable the family to identify and train their own respite provider and/or develop community based respite resources, and the consultants will work with families to help them use the respite resources in the most effective manner.

TDMH funds eight Planned Respite programs across the state:

Memphis (907)353-5440, ext.367
Jackson (731) 664-2111, ext.24
Murfreesboro (615) 890-4622, ext.16
Nashville (615) 460-4223 or 428-5624
Crossville (931) 484-8020, ext.28
Chattanooga (423) 634-8884, ext.1146
Knoxville/Oak Ridge (865) 482-1076, ext.1159
Tri-Cities area (423) 232-2719

Memphis Respite Voucher Program
This program has been established to assist families in Shelby County in the cost of respite services. Families must have children from birth to age 18, who have a serious emotional disturbance or a developmental disability, and be a resident of Memphis/Shelby County. This respite subsidy program is run through the TN Respite Coalition, a statewide respite networking advocacy body.

For further information, or to access this program, please contact (901) 522-0090.

Regional Respite Voucher Program
This program has been established to assist families with the cost of respite services. Families must have children from birth to age 18 years who have a serious emotional disturbance or a developmental disability. Available statewide, excluding Shelby County which has the Memphis Respite Voucher Program, this respite subsidy program is run through the TN Respite Coalition, a statewide respite networking advocacy body. Funding enables families who are eligible for this program to pay for respite services, under Policies and Procedures developed by the Tennessee Respite Coalition. Regional respite entities handle referrals for this respite subsidy.

The Tennessee Respite Coalition
The Tennessee Respite Coalition is a statewide respite advocacy and networking organization, which advocates for increased access to and availability of lifespan respite services in Tennessee. Contact the coordinator at: 1-888-579-3754 or www.tnrespite.org

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