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Tiffany Setzer

Featured Article

Real Needs for Special People

Special Needs Respite (SNR) founder Stacy Georges holds a B. A. in Therapeutic Recreation from Purdue University. She started the organization in 2017 with the goal to serve as many of the 7,000+ families as possible that are waiting for state funded respite care. She and her husband Tom know the struggles of raising two special needs children into adulthood who require the accommodations other families seek. 

SNR helps bridge the existing funding gap that many parents have when trying to get childcare for their special needs child. “We can provide funds that will pay qualified caregivers,” Stacy explains, “to care for these children when no other way to pay is available to the parents.” SNR pays qualified caregivers or agencies to provide respite childcare for children with special needs so their parents can get a break; whether it's for several hours or several days.   

SNR has relationships with approved respite care providers in case parents do not already have a caregiver for their child.

The organization helps these families in the form of an "award," which is a set amount of funding that can be used to pay caregivers. The funds are set aside for three months, during which time the caregiver submits invoices to SNR as care is rendered. Once the funds are exhausted or expired, the award is complete. Families can get up to four awards per calendar year.

And since “special needs” is a broad category, ranging from mildly autistic to fully paralyzed and there is no approved list of diagnoses, Special Needs Respite will consider any child under 26. Stacy states simply, “For the purposes of being awarded a respite scholarship, if you consider your child to have special needs, fill out an application listing the diagnosis along with a narrative describing your situation.”

With processes in place to serve families and meet the ever-increasing demand, SNR is seeking introductions to private businesses that are willing to make an investment in making social change by giving parents hope. “Parents tell us that knowing they can get a brief break helps them make it through another day," Stacy explains. The research has found that parents raising a special needs child are much more likely to divorce. In addition, these parents are prone to physical and mental health issues as they face isolation, depression, and despair. SNR can make a difference.

Stacy concludes, “Donations are the only way we can continue to provide this much-needed help to our community. Every dollar makes a difference in the lives of special needs families.”

Special Needs Respite, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit serving the metro Atlanta area. For more information or to donate, please visit SpecialNeedsRespite.org

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