DIDD Partners with DCS to Provide Residential Care for Hospitalized Children

First children transitioned out of hospitals to state-operated homes in mid-March
Wednesday, April 05, 2023 | 05:40pm

NASHVILLE—As a part of Gov. Bill Lee’s TN Strong Families initiative, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) has started serving children in DCS custody with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have complex medical needs at former state-operated community homes.

DIDD is offering short-term residential placements for children who are currently placed in children’s hospitals at formerly vacant state-operated properties once operated as intermediate care facilities (ICF/IID). The department is building the capacity to support up to 20 children in all three regions until a long-term placement or foster home can be attained.

“DIDD has a long history of providing direct care to those with complex medical and behavioral needs at its state-operated homes,” said DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner. “As more adults have chosen to live independently, we have experienced staff and comfortable four-bedroom homes that can provide a supportive environment for these children outside of the hospital. It’s our mission to support all Tennesseans living with intellectual and developmental disabilities and we are grateful for this opportunity to help.”

DCS Commissioner Margie Quin, who took over the agency in September, was transparent during the November budget hearing. Quin communicated to Gov. Bill Lee the need for alternative housing for medically fragile children allowing them to safely discharge hospitals for around-the-clock high-level care.

Quin creatively engaged resources, collaborating with DIDD, to help solve this pressing need for youth whose specialized needs make traditional foster care placement challenging.

“When state agencies work collaboratively to solve problems, Tennesseans benefit. In this case, the most vulnerable among us. With this new system in place, children will no longer wait in hospitals for a safe discharge plan. Once medically cleared, these children will receive comfort and care in a home-like setting thanks to resources made available by DIDD,” Quin says.

“Commissioner Quin and her team have been incredible partners in assisting us with training, information and assessments so we could act with urgency,” Turner said. “I also want to commend DIDD staff for stepping up when they saw a need and applying our experience and expertise to help vulnerable children across Tennessee.”

The first children transitioned to their new homes in March.

Find photos of one of the homes here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAyByj
Video elements can be found here: https://youtu.be/5sTINhLxZIc