Family Support


Sometimes caregivers need additional support when their child is going through emotional or behavioral challenges. There are a variety of resources that can provide assistance. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) works closely with the organizations listed below to support families.

TDMHSAS Family Support Programs:

Respite is an important need for all families caring for a member with serious disabilities. When a child presents with serious behavioral or emotional difficulties, it can be a special challenge for families to find equipped respite providers.

Planned Respite
These programs (available in several areas of the state) assist families in finding and training respite providers to work with their children.

In this program, Planned Respite services are provided by several agencies throughout the state:

• West Tennessee (serving Madison County):
Quinco Mental Health Centers 731-664-2111 ext. 28

• West Tennessee (serving Shelby County):
Alliance Healthcare Services
Frayser Family Counseling Center 901-353-5440 ext. 367

• Middle Tennessee (serving Rutherford, Hamilton and Sumner counties):
Volunteer Behavioral Health, Inc.

Rutherford County 615-459-9251

Hamilton County 423-825-4410

Sumner County 615-521-0056

• East Tennessee (serving Washington County):
Frontier Health, Inc. 423-232-2665

• East Tennessee (serving Knox and Anderson counties)
Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services 865-659-7260

Respite Voucher
This program assists families whose children have a diagnosed emotional disorder in paying for respite services. There is a statewide toll-free respite helpline that can assist these families with information about respite and with enrolling them in the Respite Voucher program.

Tennessee Respite Coalition Toll-Free: 888-579-3754

Statewide Family Support Network 
The Statewide Family Support Network (SFSN) helps parents and caregivers understand the different agencies and systems that are available for children and youth with emotional and behavioral disorders. The SFSN helps agencies and systems work together with the family to develop and implement services for the child, within their own community. For more information, contact Tennessee Voices for Children or call 800-670-9882. 

Parent Training and Support Groups
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides training for parents and other care providers of children and adolescents living with mental illness. In addition, support groups are offered. For more information, contact NAMI Tennessee or call 800-467-3589.

Ombudsman Program
The TDMHSAS Office of Consumer Affairs offers direct assistance to individuals who are experiencing problems accessing mental health services and supports. If you need help, please call 800-560-5767.

Systems of Care
A System of Care is a group of people, organizations, government agencies, families, and communities who come together to help address the challenges families with children experiencing or at risk of developing serious social, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges face.

Systems of care engage families in partnership with public and private organizations to design mental health services and supports that are effective, that build on the strengths of individuals, and that address each person's cultural and linguistic needs. A system of care helps children, youth, and families function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life.

For more information about systems of care in Tennessee, please contact:
Keri Virgo, (615) 770-0462

Project Director, System of Care Across Tennessee
Office of Children and Youth Mental Health 
Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Or visit these websites:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health 
The Institute for Innovation and Implementation