Our History

In 1988 founding board members identified the need to build community facilities for individuals who were moving out of large, state-run institutions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state of Tennessee. A certificate of need application was submitted and approved and Open Arms Care was born. OAC was approved for 256 beds across the state of Tennessee.

[www.stockpholio.com]-1819769173_4Ground breaking began in 1989 with the vision of eight client group homes in four cities. It took two years to actualize 32 group homes spread across the Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville areas. You may have driven past one of the OAC group homes, though if you are like most people, you didn’t distinguish it from any of the other homes in the neighborhood. These homes were specifically built to meet the needs of the persons who live there, but to blend in with the community as well.


Creative Commons “Fall Maple Leaves” by
Michael Hodge is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Each home houses eight individuals and has double occupancy bedrooms, with each bedroom having its own bathroom. For each of those homes you’ll find the qualified and dedicated staff needed to support those eight individuals to live successfully within their community and to reach their highest potential. Currently OAC occupies one third of the beds approved in the state of Tennessee.

In order to meet the needs of our clients on a 24/7 basis, OAC operates a day program facility in each of the cities where services are provided. The day program services, like the residential services, are geared to meet the needs of those clients in attendance. Therefore, while there are vocational and volunteer opportunities available, there are also therapeutic environments present for those whose physical and/or sensorial needs are significantly present throughout their daily routine. Some OAC clients spend their entire weekday in community work settings and some may spend a great portion of their day having their needs met for physical therapy, occupational therapy, training in functional skills, and community participation. There are also school-aged clients who attend schools in their local educational system along with their non-disabled peers. Those clients need OAC support to assure continuity in their educational plan when they return to their homes. In summary, services provided to each client are highly individualized.