Family Model Residential Services

True compassion is the hallmark of the families that have partnered with Michael Dunn Center to provide foster care and guardianship to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Family Model Services employees work tirelessly to match families who want to open their hearts and their homes with individuals who need a home. Many times the individuals placed in foster care come from crisis situations. Thanks to the support and care coordinated by the staff of Family Model Services, the individuals and families in need can live more meaningful and peaceful lives.

Another characteristic of Family Model Residential Services is that it offers the continued progression toward independence for an individual receiving services. For example, as an individual may continue to improve in health and function they may transition from a Supported Living environment to a Residential Habilitation environment to a Family Model environment to independent living.

Family Model Services also coordinates with Emory Valley Center of Oak Ridge to provide support for families who have an individual with any disability. However, funds for Family Support are extremely limited and are often appropriated by the beginning of the year for the rest of the year. To overcome the great need and relative lack of funding, the Family Model Services staff works diligently to find supplies and items from around the community to help those in need when the funds are depleted.


One other area of support provided by Family Model Residential Services is Personal Assistance. Specifically, Personal Assistance is following up on individuals that have transitioned to independent living. For example, services include taking service recipients to the grocery store, pharmacy or bank. The individual may live alone or with family members.

One area of great concern and need for the Family Model Services is help for Respite Services. When a family that has assumed responsibility for a service recipient needs to be away from home and possibly away from the service recipient, the family is required to leave the service recipient in the care of an individual that has been trained by the supporting agency. There is a great need for funding and for willing individuals to serve as respite care givers to provide the level of care Michael Dunn Center expects to provide.

Other areas of needs include durable medical equipment. Receiving approval for purchase and funding for equipment is a long and arduous process. When an individual needs equipment fast, there are few options available to purchase equipment such as wheelchairs. Also, when a family must transport their service recipient to appointments there is no funding for reimbursement of travel expenses. Some service recipients have extensive medical needs and need to travel to other cities such as Nashville on a regular basis.

If you would like to learn more about how Family Model Residential Services facilitates foster care for individuals with disabilities please contact Director of Family Model Residential Services, Lara Collins. If you are interested in providing gifts or assistance that can help Family Model Services meet its objectives of matching caring families with children and adults in need and providing excellent support for all people involved, please donate today by visiting the Donations page or call Michaele Butler at 865-376-3416, ext. 231. You can also contact her HERE and arrange a tour of the Michael Dunn Center.

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