Youth Respite

Taking care of a family member with an illness or disability can be hard and stressful. Everyone needs a break sometimes, and that’s what respite is for. It gives caregivers a chance to rest and take care of their own health and needs. When caregivers take care of themselves, they can take better care of their loved ones.

To get respite, caregivers need to:

  • Find someone who can provide respite care.
  • Teach that person how to care for their loved one.
  • Pay the respite provider.

If your child has a Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED), there are special programs to help. The Planned Respite and Respite Voucher programs help parents:

image of youth respite faq onepager
  • Find respite providers
  • Train the providers
  • Pay for the providers

These programs are here to make it easier for you to get the break you need.

The Respite Voucher program is here to support families with children who have Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) or both autism and SED. This program helps cover the cost of giving caregivers a break by paying for respite services.

Families in the program can choose and train their own respite provider, and the voucher helps pay for this care.

This program is offered by the Tennessee Caregivers Coalition. To learn more, call 615-269-8687 or visit their website at

Planned Respite is a special program that helps caregivers of children with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) learn how to get and use respite care.

This program teaches caregivers how to find and train people to care for their children, giving them, immediately needed breaks. It also provides some immediate respite care to help right away.

If you are a caregiver of a child aged 2-15 with SED, you can join Planned Respite. The program lasts about 3 months, and families can join once.

You can find Planned Respite in these counties, provided by the following agencies:

Shelby County
Alliance Health Care Services, Inc 
Loretta Rhodes
Planned Respite Services Program Coordinator
Phone: 901-354-7367


Rutherford County
Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System 
Emma Newberry
Respite Program Coordinator

Anderson and Knox Counties
Ridgeview Psychiatric Hospital and Center, Inc.
Debra Irwin
Children's Respite Program Coordinator

Madison County
Quinco Community Mental Health Center
Lacynthia Q. Comer
Planned Respite Director


Washington, Carter, Unicoi, and Sullivan Counties
Frontier Health, Inc.
Caleb Cooper
Respite Program Coordinator

For More Information

If you have concerns or need services for yourself, a child, or family member, contact our Helpline:
Phone: 800-560-5767
Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except for state holidays)

If you feel at any time that you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the Tennessee Statewide Crisis Line toll-free 24 hours, 7 days a week at 1-855-274-7471.

If you are looking for respite services for an adult who has an intellectual disability, please contact DIDD.

To learn more about TDMHSAS respite programs for children and youth, please contact: 

Sabrina Fillers
Youth Respite Program Coordinator
Division of Children, Young Adults, and Families