Project AFFIRM Helps Families Cope with Serious Behavioral Challenges


Cumberland Mental Health, a division of the Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System, provides a free service to Tennessee families who are looking for assistance with children who have serious emotional disturbances. The program called Project AFFIRM provides free respite care for families in several Tennessee counties.

What is respite?
Respite is a relief or break time for families with children who have serious emotional disturbances or other mental illnesses such as autism or ADHD.

Who is eligible?
Families living in Hamilton, Rutherford and Sumner Counties with children between the ages of 2 and 15 who experience behavioral issues.

Why Respite?
Raising a child experiencing severe behavioral issues is difficult. Families facing these day-to-day pressures need relief but may have trouble accessing the support they need. Project AFFIRM assist families in locating and training respite providers to help meet the unique needs of their child. Once trained, the family's respite provider gives the child a supportive companion, and caregivers needed relief from stress.

How long is the program?
Project AFFIRM services typically last about nine weeks with two to four hours of respite provided weekly. Once trained, you work with your individual respite provider to determine how long additional respite services are needed.

How does it work?
Project AFFIRM is a parent empowerment program, designed to help families find long-term respite options. The project AFFIRM consultants work directly with the family and child to tailor services to meet their unique needs.

AFFIRM consultants provide respite and help caregivers with developing behavior management plans to fit their child's needs. These plans are a vital part of the success of respite.

AFFIRM consultants work closely with families to match respite providers with each child. Over the course of the program consultants assist families in behavior management. Additionally, respite consultants aid families in locating and training long-term respite providers. This gives each family long-term respite options and each child supportive, positive role models.

While on respite outings with AFFIRM consultants, parents have a chance to unwind and recharge, reducing family stress and caregiver stain.

Visit their website for more info about services available at VBH locations.