Open Arms Care – Knoxville

7325 Oak Ridge Highway
Suite 200
Knoxville, TN 37931
Telephone: 865-694-8463
Fax: 865-694-0384


Knoxville operations consist of eight residential group homes in the Karns community and a 9,300 square foot Day Program where clients learn vocational and daily living skills. We pride ourselves in providing exemplary care to our clients with a dedicated staff of over 225 employees in Knox County, led by a team of directors offering a combined total of over 92 years of experience and expertise in caring for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Creative Commons “Sunset from balcony in Gatlinburg, TN” by
SpeedProPhoto is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Not only is the entire team of staff dedicated to the individual needs and desires of our clients, but also to the OAC mission of supporting people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to reach their maximum potential and lead dignified and meaningful lives. Together we have the vision of being the recognized leader in providing innovative services for people with disabilities.

We are committed to performance excellence and fiscal integrity, which continues to lead us to sustainability and growth. We are committed our community, striving to continue established relationships as a valued and trusted member of Knoxville society. We will continue to make a positive difference.

Our History

KNX IMG_1554In January of 2013, Knoxville city operations transitioned into a centrally-located support office which allows for employee training and continuing education. During 23 years of service to the East Tennessee region we have continued to invest in our facilities, our staff and programs offered to our residents. We are proud to be an integral part of our community and look forward to expanding our operations and services.



Day Program Services

7810 Ball Camp Pike, Knoxville, TN 37931
Telephone: 865-694-9964
Fax: 865-539-4439


Many programs fall under the Day Program Services (DPS) umbrella. A program is defined as a skill development tool designed for a specific client and purpose. Most programs run daily, with some running multiple times per day. The Day Program Services focus on:

Adaptive Equipment & Maintenance

Our Maintenance Department is responsible for the maintenance of eight client group homes, the Day Program Services building and the Support Office. This responsibility encompasses any component necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of clients and staff. This could include anything from vehicle lift repairs, plumbing, heating/air, electrical maintenance, and installing appliances to the maintenance, building, and installing of special client equipment.

Vocational/Job Coaching/Volunteering/Community Outreach

Part of our mission is to focus on community integration and we strive to accomplish this in several ways. Vocational/Job Coaching is dedicated to teaching office skills, reading, writing, and math abilities. This allows our clients to learn the necessary skills to obtain a compensated position. In addition, teaching other skill sets allow them the privilege of volunteering. From delivering food for Mobile Meals, sorting donations at the Samaritan Center, serving beverages and food at the Love Kitchen, and housekeeping at The Ronald McDonald House, our clients enjoying volunteering in their community.

Flying Brushes new logo

Flying Brushes Art Program

Flying Brushes is a very important program at Open Arms. Our art program was adopted from the A.R.T. (ArtisticSteven Kirby creating Claris Painting Realization Techniques) created by Tim Lefens along with our own innovations to allow clients to release their inner artist. The A.R.T program utilizes specially trained “trackers” to assist clients with creating their unique masterpieces. Some clients have little or no mobility in their extremities, therefore a laser is positioned to the client’s head or wrist that allows them to channel their thoughts and emotions onto canvas while the “tracker” follows their movement. Clients have choices; they are free to chose the canvas size, techniques and color used in their paintings. The Day Program holds at least one show a year to showcase client artwork. Flying Brushes artwork is also featured in contests or shows throughout the year, with paintings available for sale. All painting sale proceeds go directly to the client artist. To schedule a time to see an artist at work please contact the Day Program Services office.

<Click here> to find out more about our art programs. Enjoy the creative artistry of Open Arms Care and find out how you can purchase your own original artwork.

KNX IMG_1557

Physical Management

Physical Management provides repositioning, range of motion, attention to task, leisure skill development, sensory processing, and fine and gross motor skills. Here, skill development is very basic and focuses on maintaining and improving clients’ range of motion and full body dexterity. Physical Management is utilized by clients at the recommendation of their Physical Therapist.

Sensory Room

Knoxville sensory room photoThe Sensory Room is designed to allow clients to utilize sensory equipment such as dancing lights, aroma therapy devices, sound machines, curtain lights, and a ball pool to enhance a sensory deprivation or to reduce anxiety brought on by over-stimulation. Several clients have “sensory diets” developed by their Occupational Therapist which detail activities and therapies specific to each individual.


Senior Enrichment Program

Our Retirement program concentrates on leisure and activities of daily living skills, as well as community inclusion opportunities. There are also opportunities for us to partner with other retirement communities. Retirement clients often host parties and participate in community outings for recreational activities such as walking at the mall, visiting parks and restaurants or attending social organization activities.

Life Skills

The Life Skills program provides: sensory processing, attention to task, basic vocational, meal time, personal choice, communication, and skill sets for activities of daily living. Clients are taught everyday “life” skills such as cooking , cleaning and office related tasks.

 Summer Program

Knoxville Summer program


During the warmer months, the Day Program hosts our younger clients in a Summer Program loaded with fun and stimulating activities to fill their days while they are out of school. Knoxville Summer program photo 1






The staff is on their toes to keep up with the energy and enthusiasm of our younger clients as they visit local parks and museums, enjoy the water fountains at the World’s Fair Site, or go for a lunch cruise on Knoxville’s Riverboat.


Residential Services

For information regarding the Residential Program and admission criteria, contact Marcia at the Open Arms Care Knoxville Support Office at 865-694-8463. Marcia is happy to answer any questions you may have, arrange for facility tours and assist with the admissions process.



Creative Commons “Baby rabbits” by
Jans canon is licensed under CC BY 3.0




Each Open Arms Care home is served by a Program Manager, House Manager and Residential Coordinator. This leadership team provides oversight for residents by working seamlessly to maintain a positive and growth enhancing environment at all times.

Program Manager

The Program Manager serves as a Case Manager, providing oversight of the transition in to community based living supports. They are responsible for developing and implementing Individual Service Plan’s and Active Treatment goals for each resident. The Program Manager ensures residents receive all appropriate services, coordinating through consultant evaluations and recommendation, physician oversight, school or Day Program Services, and integration into the community. They work very closely with family members to support relationships, ensure the best possible care is provided, and empower independence and growth to the level achievable.

House ManagerKnoxville Assist Program Mgr photo 1

Knoxville Assist Program Mgr photo


The House Manager is responsible for the daily running of the residence. Along with the training of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), they also provide supervision and mentoring.

The House Manager is in constant communication with family members, working with them to ensure the client is provided with the highest possible level of care.

Client Support Coordinators

In addition to the residence leadership team, a Behavioral Client Support Coordinator oversees behavioral programming documentation and implementation.

Why We Do What We Do!

Knoxville Why We Do What We Do PhotoThose working on the residential team consider their jobs to be less like work and more like spending time with family. Our staff and leadership become very close with residents, often serving as their voice, their confidant, and their friend. They create special moments; lifelong dreams realized. A trip to Graceland, torch bearer at Special Olympics, singing on stage at BB Kings in Nashville, or seeing the ocean for the first time, dreams can come true.

And when you see the excitement, the emotion, and the heartfelt gratitude for being part of a dream come true, it greater fuels our commitment. The smile is always worth the work it takes to get it!

Make a Difference

Open Arms Care relies on the generosity of families, friends and our community; your support makes all the difference. Be a part of something special for those who are very special.

Thanks to your generous support, we can continue to expand the possibilities for those we serve.

“You guys do so much for so many special people. It is my HONOR to be a part of your organization.
God bless you all.”
  -Supporter, Bruce Edens

Major credit cards are accepted – Mastercard, American Express, VISA, Discover, and more!

Business Services

Business Services provide a vast and complex set of services to Open Arms Care. From processing payroll, billing, insurance, and payables, to Maintenance Department oversight and fleet management.

Compliance and Training

The Knoxville OAC director of Quality Assurance works with the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDDS), Medicaid and Licensure to ensure all Federal and State requirements are met. In addition, Quality Assurance conducts the admission process, administers the Incident Management System and hosts Family Support Meetings. Quality Assurance is proactive in making sure the quality of care given to our clients meets their individual needs and specific interests. Client safety and quality of care are a priority.

“One of my favorite moments with OAC was during a trip to Walt Disney World. The smiles and joyful responses of the clients were priceless! We were providing a real life experience that they may not have had elsewhere. During these trips you see staff and clients interacting as true families. You see genuine compassion from our staff.” – Teresa Coy

Staff Training Coordinator       

Our Training Department ensures the highest quality of training is delivered to our employees. All new, and existing, staff receive the necessary training to meet OAC, Federal and State requirements. Training for staff can include topics such as Life Safety, Incident Management, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI), Nutrition, Sensitivity/Ethics, and Defensive Driving. These training sessions only help to raise the bar as we strive to provide the highest level of care for our clients. New employee orientation includes more than two weeks of instruction, with one half of the time devoted to classroom instruction, focusing on strategies in assisting individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities. The remaining orientation period is dedicated to work site/hands on training. Employees implement what they have learned in the classroom setting and are able to observe positive role modeling as they begin to build relationships of their own.

Volunteer Opportunities and More…

Knoxville Volunteer photo

Are you looking for innovative and exciting opportunities to showcase your talents, develop your organization’s or employer’s volunteers program, give back to the community, or improve your individual hidden skills? Enrich your leisure time and assist in building relationships throughout our community! Volunteer at Open Arms Care, Knoxville. An orientation program is provided after the completion of a background check. All minors (under age 18) must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

Our internship program, in partnership with the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, is designed to provide a highly rewarding, diverse, and challenging experience for interns. Our goal is to introduce students to the internal workings of our agency. They can expect to enjoy a safe and pleasant environment while preparing for a position in their chosen field through professional development.

Interns are supervised daily to ensure they have a complete understanding of assignments, expectations and priorities, and should expect to participate regularly and punctually. Interns will be asked to provide feedback and eagerly look for opportunities to improve their skills and knowledge base. Upon completion of the program, interns will be evaluated in accordance with established educational institution guidelines.

Knoxville Intern photo

Health Care Services

Health Care Services boasts a Health Care Services Director (RN), a Clinical Compliance Nurse (RN), and approximately 20 nurses (LPNs) on staff. Together, they provide on site medical interventions; laboratory procedures, medication administration, and healthcare reviews. Collaborating as a team with physicians, they advocate for the best possible medical intervention based on individualized care.

“At OAC I can truly say clients and staff become more like family than just coworkers and clients. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this organization.” – Bonnie Burress

Human Resources

“Employees Are Key” at Open Arms Care and each of our employees is committed to the success and development of the clients we serve. Our Human Resources Department recruits those who have a heart for service and is dedicated to assisting them develop their talents and skill sets. In addition to managing the recruitment process, Human Resources at OAC is responsible for internal transfers and promotions, performance management, training and development, compensation, benefits, employee relations and reward and recognition programs. We have good reason to be proud of our employees, many of them have been with us for years, resulting in a wealth of knowledge and experience.

A Message from the Executive Director

With our employees receiving awards and recognitions, including both state and nationally, we are honored to work along side them in service to our clients. Within our city operations we select an “Employee of the Month” and from the twelve selected one will be honored as the “Employee of the Year.”

Knoxville is proud to have staff members recognized by the Direct Support Professional Association of Tennessee (DSPAT) and Tennessee Community Organizations (TNCO), including “Outstanding Manager of the Year,” “Direct Support Professional of the Month,” “Direct Support Professional of the Quarter,” and the annual “Above and Beyond” award.

The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) has recognized two employee’s as “Tennessee’s Direct Support Professional of the Year.”

In addition, Open Arms Care also recognizes employees from across the state whose efforts contributed significantly to making a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

<Click here to meet our winners>

 Our Community

[]-2347035838_4We are proud to be part of this dynamic and growing community. The bustling city nestled against the backdrop of absolute scenic beauty creates the perfect match. A wonderful place to live and work; a fantastic place for education and healthcare, and an amazing place for enjoying friendships.

With spirited humor we’ve collected our favorite things about Knoxville. But, seriously, our list reveals the best about our town. We think you’ll agree. <Click here> to read more about the wonderful city we call home.

Creative Commons “Knoxville sunset” by
Joel Kramer is licensed under CC BY 3.0



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