Tennessee START Assessment and Stabilization Teams banner featuring a red square with white letters "TN" representing the state of Tennessee department of Intellectual and Developmental disabilities

The Tennessee START Assessment & Stabilization Teams (TN START AST) are a statewide resource for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have complex behavioral or mental health needs. TN START AST is a collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) and the Center for START Services. START (Systematic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources & Treatment) is a comprehensive model of service supports that optimizes independence, treatment, and community living for individuals with IDD and behavioral health needs.

TN START AST provides prevention and stabilization through crisis response, stabilization planning, training and education, consultation, and formalized partnerships. TN START AST is available statewide and consists of five teams, divided into five regions across Tennessee (Memphis, Jackson, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Knoxville). Each region consists of a team of Assessment & Stabilization Facilitators (ASF) and a supervising Assessment & Stabilization Manager (ASM). All team members will utilize evidence-based practices and be trained and certified by the Center for START Services. TN START AST will provide the following services:

  • 24/7 onsite or remote crisis response and consultation
  • On-going cross-systems crisis stabilization planning to include prevention and intervention for eligible individuals
  • Clinical consultation, education, and training
  • Establishing and maintaining formalized community partnerships and systems linkages
  • Comprehensive assessment and evaluation of support needs, existing services, and available resources.
  • Assessment and facilitation of therapeutic resource center admissions
  • Systemic analysis, consultation and support

TN START AST will be initially available to children and adults currently receiving or eligible for Medicaid waiver services. However, the long-term goal is to work towards making the service available to all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Referrals for TN START AST can be made by, but are not limited to, individuals, families, service providers, hospitals, mobile crisis providers, and behavioral health providers. Mobile crisis providers or other crisis entities can contact TN START AST for assistance and consultation with persons who have or are suspected to have an intellectual or developmental disability. Instructions for making referrals will be available on this page as soon as TN START AST begins accepting referrals.

Once a referral is received, the ASF will work with eligible referred individuals and their service/support team to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the person, develop a person-centered cross-systems stabilization plan, and provide training and support in order to reach sustained stabilization for the individual and their system of care. Consistent with the department’s vision, TN START AST will maintain strong community inclusion values with the goal of helping individuals remain in their home or community placement while ensuring that person-centered services and supports are right-sized to allow the individual to live the lives they envision for themselves.

Program Website: https://www.tn.gov/didd/for-consumers/assessment-stabilization-teams.html

Bruce Davis, PhD, BCBA-D, Sr. LPE, LPC
Deputy Commissioner of Clinical Services

Michelle Bagby, M.A., LBA, BCBA
Coordinator of Behavioral and Mental Health Services

Trey King
Coordinator of Crisis and Forensic Services