“Increasing access to and availability of high quality respite resources for all caregivers in Alabama”


Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network® (Alabama Respite) is a statewide program of United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley, Inc. (UCP). Our programs and services include:

  • Respite resource information and referrals for caregivers
  • Education, training and public awareness
  • State, local and federal advocacy
  • Technical assistance in starting new programs including volunteer training
  • Sharing the Care (STC) Community Initiatives
  • Voucher Respite Services
  • www.alabamarespite.org - Alabama Respite’s website offers information for caregivers and service providers wishing to learn more about our activities and programs. The website hosts an interactive database of agencies that provide respite services specific to Alabama’s counties.
  • 866-RESTALA (866-737-8252) is Alabama Respite's toll free number for easy access for caregivers and providers seeking additional information.
  • The staff is available to provide information and education through presentations to conferences, groups, organizations, churches and agencies that serve family caregivers. Staff is also available to volunteer train respite providers. Alabama Respite staff may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  GIVE ME A BREAK! is a brochure outlining how Alabama Respite is making respite resources readily available and easily accessible for all caregivers in Alabama.

 ALABAMA RESPITE SERVICES is a quick, concise brochure outlining our services and contact information, along with interesting facts about respite and how you can help.

HEARTS Voucher Respite Program, first piloted in North Alabama by UCP in Huntsville in 1994, has successfully been replicated by all 5 UCP affiliates throughout the state. The program serves caregivers of children up to age 19 and is funded by the Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention. A list of HEARTS Coordinators can be found on our website at:http://www.alabamarespite.org/about-us/31.html

Alabama Respite began in 2000, working with a task force of around 45 volunteers from state agencies, non- and for-profit organizations that serve people with disabilities and consumers. The task force developed an initial Strategic Plan to identify the respite needs of caregivers in Alabama and the gaps and barriers they face accessing services.

Sharing the Care (STC) is a community-based initiative that creates an opportunity for key stakeholders living in a specific area of the state to collaborate and develop respite resources and address funding needs unique to their community. Piloted in 2005 in Limestone County, the project has been replicated in Madison, Cullman, Blount, Jefferson/Shelby, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Marengo, Dallas, Etowah, Houston, Lee, Montgomery/Elmore/Autauga, Mobile/Baldwin, and Colbert/Lauderdale Counties. Alabama Respite has created training materials to begin STC Projects in different communities. Our staff presented this concept at the 2011 National Respite Conference at the request of ARCH, our National Respite Coalition. For more information about an STC in your area or starting a STC, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A training module is available on our website at: "STC TOOLKIT - Sharing the Care: An Innovative Model for Building Respite Awareness and Capacity within Communities".

Our advocacy efforts with the Alabama Legislature resulted in Alabama Respite receiving state funding beginning in 2006. The funds are administered by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. This money is used as match funds to secure federal funding. 

Alabama Respite hosted the 2007 National Respite Conference in Huntsville.

In 2007, the Alabama Department of Mental Health began contracting with Alabama Respite to manage voucher respite funding for caregivers of adults and children who have intellectual disabilities.

In 2009, the Alabama legislature passed resolution HJR170 to establish Alabama Respite as "the lead entity for lifespan respite coordination in the state of Alabama" and designated coordinator of the Alabama Respite Coalition. From that effort, the Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network Act. No. 2012-410 was passed into law. The Governor appoints our statewide coalition of stakeholders of about 30 individuals representing the legislature, state agencies, organizations, and consumers. The Coalition collaborates to address issues related to respite in a productive process and limits duplication of effort when possible. A list of current members can be found on our website at: http://www.alabamarespite.org/index.php/about-us/alabama-respite-coalition.html

Respite Awareness Month is recognized annually in November by the Governor through proclamation.

Alabama was one of the first of 12 states to receive a Federal Lifespan Respite Grant in 2009. The primary goal of this grant is for the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS) to work in partnership with Coalition to provide a statewide, comprehensive, and coordinated approach to providing lifespan respite care to all Alabama family caregivers regardless of disability, illness, age, income, race, ethnicity, special needs, or situation.

Alabama Respite contracted with ADSS and partnered with the Coalition for a second Lifespan Respite grant that allowed our staff to create and post on our website the STC Toolkit and the Faith-based module training components; map current caregiver training resources in Alabama; certify staff to become volunteer respite provider trainers; build upon the existing STC entities and start up 12 new STCs; and update our website to begin building a strong training and education section.

Alabama Respite staff participates as our state's representative to the National Respite Coalition (ARCH) and on state and local committees which address services related to caregivers.

In 2017, Alabama Respite partnered with Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS) for a third Federal Lifespan Respite Grant. The goal of this grant is to increase actual respite services and workshops for caregivers as well as further developing public policy and awareness on caregiver issues. 

The 18th Annual National Lifespan Respite Conference was held in Huntsville, Alabama in October of 2017. This was the ten year anniversary of the first time Alabama hosted the conference and they remain the only state to host the conference twice. 

Brittany Huey, Program Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Brittany Huey is originally from Oxford, Alabama and moved to Huntsville in 2014 to pursue her Master’s Degree in Social Work. She graduated in 2015, and obtained her license to practice. Brittany joined Alabama Respite in January 2015 as our Training and Resource Specialist. She travels the state educating caregivers, professionals and community members about respite and other caregiver topics.

Carolyn McGlamry, Caregiver Resource Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carolyn McGlamry, a native of England who moved to Huntsville in July 2016, is a qualified social worker, as well as a non-profit grant writer for 10 years in the UK. Carolyn joined the Alabama Respite team in April 2018 and manages the voucher respite reimbursement program during her regularly scheduled office hours, M-F, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Carley Frensley, Statewide Education Specialist, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carley Frensley, who joined the Alabama Respite team in May 2018, is originally from Oxford and earned her bachelor’s of social work degree at Jacksonville State University. Carley’s duties include creating, scheduling and conducting respite education trainings, workshops, lunch and learns, and public awareness opportunities for caregivers throughout Alabama.

Vonda Reeves, South Alabama Training Specialist

Vonda Reeves, who has 29 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities and their families, is contracted with Alabama Respite to conduct respite education trainings and public awareness opportunities to benefit caregivers in the southernmost part of the state. In addition to currently working as a Parent Consultant for Children’s Rehabilitation Service, Vonda has also served as a member of The Alabama Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC), a member of the Alabama Council of Disabilities (1993-1995; reappointed 2012-present), owned and operated Helping Angels Caregiving and Respite Service for seven years, and currently serves as a member of the University Center for Excellence of Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) for Civitan Consumer Advisory Committee, and a member of Charting the LifeCourse Planning Team in Alabama.

Tracy Cieniewicz, Sustainability Director

Tracy Cieniewicz, a Madison County native, is a graduate of the University of North Alabama and Leadership Huntsville Madison County Connect Class 11. Tracy, who began working with UCP Huntsville in 2007, oversees two of the agency’s statewide programs, STAR and Alabama Respite, as well as the Helping Those Who Care program. Her work includes program reporting, grant writing and management, personnel and administrative duties, public awareness, and training.


In 2012, the Alabama Legislature passed the Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network Act (2012-410) which designates the members of the Alabama Lifespan Respite Coalition. The Governor appoints the coalition comprised of members who are culturally, economically, and geographically diverse and representative of the state demographics. The coalition’s responsibilities are to: (1) build partnerships and coordinate respite care efforts statewide (2) provide public awareness about respite to the citizens of Alabama, and, (3) identify, coordinate, and develop, community/funding resources for respite services.

Members of the Alabama Respite Coalition

Kimberly Lewis

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS)

Marlene Wood

Governor’s Office on Disability (GOOD)

Representative Bill Poole

Alabama House of Representatives, House Ways & Means Committee Chair - ED

Senator Cam Ward

Alabama Senate, Judiciary Committee Chair

Representative April Weaver

Alabama House of Representatives, Health Committee Chair

Senator Jim McClendon

Alabama Senate, Health Committee Chair


Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS)

Ginger Wettingfeld

Alabama Department of Medicaid (ADM)

Shelia Duncan

Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), Office of Minority Health

Sallye Longshore

Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention (ADCANP) / Children's Trust Fund of Alabama


Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR)

Jewell Pitts

Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH)


Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities (ACDD)

Cheryl Smith

United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley, Inc. (UCP)


Collaborative Training Partner Representative


Collaborative Training Partner Representative

Ree Clark

Family Caregiver, CRS Parent Consultant


Comm Respite Initiative/Program Representative

Tim Trimble

Comm Respite Initiative/Program Representative, Aaron’s Staff Respite Care

Angel Lowen

Autism Society of Alabama (ASA)

Kristina Johnson

Alabama Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (ALHPCO), Huntsville Hospital System Hospice Family Care

Representative Laura Hall

Alabama House of Representatives Health Committee, Ranking Minority Member


American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

Amy Lamb-Eng

Statewide Advocacy Group Representative, Alabama Head Injury Foundation


Faith-Based Initiative

John Beard

Respite Care Provider, Alacare Hospice and Palliative Care Organization


Respite Care Provider


University Partner

Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network® (Alabama Respite) is a program of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Huntsville and Tennessee Valley.

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