Easter Seals

Family Support Referral

Respite and Family Support is a program with Easter Seals Southern Georgia. Thirteen counties are served out of the Valdosta Office.  The great thing about Family Support is that it is a need based program, not income based. Clients who qualify for Family Support have to meet the following criteria:
At least 3 years of age
Must have a diagnosis of a developmental disability (Autism, Downs, Cerebral Palsy, MR, Epilepsy, etc.)
Family Support provides diapers, wipes, gloves, travel reimbursement to doctor’s appointments at least 50 miles one way (100 round trip), Nutritional Supplements, Recreational Activities such as YMCA Family Memberships, horseback riding lessons, swimming lessons, Summer Camps, Ballet, Sports, Karate, etc. Family Support also helps with vision/dental services not covered by Medicaid as well as specialized medical equipment. We also provide respite care to include Megan’s House (fully staffed home with CNAs 24/7 to provide care for your child) or a person of your choice 20 hours max a month to watch your child.
For an application, please contact Easter Seals’ Valdosta Office at 229-247-6912.

Champion Spotlight

Easter Seals is a wonderful organization who truly helps our daughter,
Caris. Caris is a 14-year-old girl with a love of gospel music. Her favorite musicians are Brenda Lee, Guy Penrod, the Oakridge Boys, and Faithful Servants, to name a few.  She studies gospel music almost every day and enjoys southern gospel sounds above all.  One of her favorite things to do is share her love of gospel music to residents of local nursing homes. She talks about music with them and sings songs too!  We encourage her positive interests and do our best to help her with the daily struggles she faces from having autism spectrum disorder and sensory processing disorder.
The Champions for Children program has helped Caris with medical appointments, sensory reducing devices, music therapy, and much more over the years.  In fact, the people who make up the Easter Seals of Southern Georgia division go above and beyond!  Kathy Sutton with the Champions for Children program, Heidi Bryant, and Kristin Baumgartel are caring and generous individuals. Kathy even asks how things are going periodically and makes suggestions based on things that have helped other ASD children.  Heidi and Kristin send out helpful reminders to us too! 
Daily challenges can be overwhelming at times, but with support from the helpful people listed above, it becomes less daunting I honestly do not know where we would be without Easter Seals and the Champions program.  The help we received from them recently helped Caris get past a very difficult transition period. While there may be more struggles in the future, at least we know we have an advocate.  These advocates work hard to ensure those with autism live healthier more productive lives.

Winning Words – About Anxiety

Anxiety, also called angst or worry, is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components.  Anxiety is a normal part of childhood, and every child goes through phases. A phase is temporary and usually harmless. Anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness, and dread. Anxiety is considered to be a normal reaction to a stressor.  When anxiety becomes excessive, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder. Children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness, and shyness, and they start to avoid places and activities.
Anxious children are likely to engage in a variety of avoidance behaviors to reduce exposure to threat. In the classroom, they may be withdrawn, not initiate interactions, select easy over difficult tasks, and avoid situations where they anticipate increased risk for failure. Socially, they may feel uncomfortable in new situations, not initiate conversations, or avoid group interactions
There are multitude tools to aid in tempering anxious thoughts and feelings of anxiety.  It’s important to note that in each day, each hour, the same strategy may not always work. The distraction strategy that got you and your child out the door yesterday might not be the appropriate strategy for today. As long as you equip yourself with a variety of options, you will always be one step ahead of the anxiety.
Some Anxiety Reduction Strategies are :

  • Toolboxes
  • Meditation Music
  • Guided Imagery
  • Workbooks
  • Stepladder Plan
  • Feeling Chart
  • Affirmations
  • Realistic Thinking
  • Ask Questions to Foster Realistic Thinking
  • Challenge Negative Thoughts with Realistic Thinking
  • Encapsulate Realistic Thinking

To read a more detailed description of these techniques go to:
For more resources on childhood anxiety go to: http://www.worrywisekids.org/

Building a  Brighter Future 

Ages of Children in Program:  Birth to 18 years old
Number Enrolled in Program: 340 children across Georgia
Number Tentatively Approved for Program: 15  children in final stages of intake
Most Commonly Requested Services: Therapies,  medications, medical supplies and medical services
Most Prevalent Diagnoses in Program: Cerebral palsy, pervasive developmental disability and Autism spectrum disorders. 
Megan’s House:  A respite home for children with three locations in Albany, Valdosta and Waycross Georgia! 
Call 229-439-7061.
Easter Seals Southern Georgia: Heels and Wheels – ~Annual sprint distance duathlon and triathlon raising funds for Megan’s House held at Laura S. Walker State Park near Waycross. Click here for more info. 
~Join us for a night of gospel music Saturday August 20th at 6:00 PM Tift Theater in Tifton. Click here for more info.
Easter Seals Middle Georgia – Celebrating 40 years of service: Visit a Friendly Gus convenience store near you and MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  Buy hang tag for $1 and help children and adults with disabilities.
Easter Seals East Georgia: We are in the process of developing some new programs targeted specifically for individuals on the Autism Spectrum to get and keep jobs. More>>
Easter Seals West Georgia:
*Assistive Technology – for children with special needs (birth-age 6) living in GA. The funds for this grant are made possible by the Georgia Department of Public Health through the Georgia Children and Elderly Fund.
Call Katie at (706)256-0413 for more information.
*Pancake Breakfast Aug. 20, 2016 Pancakes (unlimited), Sausage, & Juice, Milk or Coffee. $4 for adults, $2 for children under 5 (sold at the door). At Easter Seals on Double Churches Rd.
Easter Seals North Georgia:  ServiceMobi is partnering with ESNG to donate $1 for every download of their app. Simply download ServiceMobi now, register to find neighbor-trusted home service pros, and they will donate $1 to ESNG!
Fragile Kids Foundation: Grants application
Go to: http://www.fragilekids.org/
 FODAC: (Friends of disabled adults and children)-
http://www.fodac.org/ and click on programs for grant application.
You too can advocate for the
Champions for Children program-
The Champions for Children program is funded

in several ways, one of which is through
legislation. Originally, the program was to last

5 years. Now in its 8th year, we are actively
seeking state funding to continue the support
for Georgia families.
Ways you can help are:
·         Telling your story though the newsletter
·         Attend fundraising events at your local
       Easter Seals
·         Call or write your Representative or
      Senator letting them know how Champions
      for Children has helped your family.
Our goal is to continue the Champions for Children
program so we can assist Georgia’s families.

How to find your legislator:

 Easter Seals Southern Georgia Main Office
1906 Palmyra Road,
Albany, GA 31701-1598
Phone: (229)439-7061
Call for services in your area.

Camilla Office,
24 S. Scott Street
Camilla, GA 31730
Phone: (229)336-5525
Fax: (229)336-2104

Vienna Office,
1301 E. Union St.
Vienna, GA 31092
Phone: (229)268-6762
Fax: (229)268-6763

Jesup Office,
260 W. Walnut Street
Jesup, GA 31545
Phone: (912)559-2359
Fax: (912)588-1964

Waycross Office,
505 Elizabeth Street
Waycross, GA 31501
Phone: (912)283-4691
Fax: (912)283-4692

Valdosta Office,
610 N. Patterson St. Ste A
Valdosta, GA 31601
Phone: (229)247-6912
Fax: (229)247-8549

Easter Seals provides:
Adult Services
Children’s Services

Easter Seals Southern Georgia Solutions Day Program 

The mission of Easter Seals Solutions Day Program is to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities experience valued roles in the community by providing services and training that supports individual choices and opportunities. There are four Day Solutions Centers located in South Georgia including Tifton, Cordele, Vienna, Albany, and Leesburg. 

Easter Seals Southern Georgia creates solutions that change the lives of children, adults and families with disabilities or special needs by offering a variety of programs and services that enable individuals to lead lives of equality, dignity and independence. For more information call 

1906 Palmyra Road
Albany, GA 31701
Phone: (229)439-7061
Fax: (229)435-6278
601 E. 13th Ave
Cordele, GA 31015
Fax: (229)435-6278
103B Walnut Ave
Leesburg, GA 31763
Phone: (229)814-1105
1402 Tift Ave N.
Tifton, GA 31794
Phone: (229)439-7061
Fax: (229)435-6278
1301 E. Union St.
Vienna, GA 31092
Phone: (229)268-6762
Fax: (229)268-6763

Easter Seals’ Valdosta Office serves thirteen counties by providing services to children and adults with special needs. So how does an individual qualify? He/she must be at least three years of age with a diagnosis of a developmental delay, Autism, Downs, MR, CP, Epilepsy, etc. Family Support is a NEED based program, NOT income based.  Our services provide clients with the following: diapers, wipes,gloves, Nutritional Supplements, Recreational/therapeutic activities (horseback riding, music lessons, karate, Ballet, Soccer, Miracle League, Boy/Girl Scouts), Travel Reimbursement to doctor’s appointments that are out of town, dental/vision services denied by Medicaid, Respite Care (Megan’s House or parents’ choice of provider). We are approaching the end of a school year and just an FYI Summer Camp is covered under Family Support as well. The goal of Family Support is to keep families together. We understand that the amount of stress involved is overwhelming and it is our goal to accommodate each family’s unique needs.
Family Support – Provides the following services: 

  • Gloves & wípes 
  • Travel reimbursements to medical appointments 
  • Eyeglasses 
  • Dental services
  • Medical equipment not covered by Insurance or Medicare/Medicaid 
  • Therapeutic services such as horseback rídíng, soccer, ballet, gymnastics, karate, T-ball, etc. 
  • Summer camps 
  • Respite care (your choice or Megan’s House)
  • Specialized clothing
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Recreation/ Leisure Activities
  • Environmental Modifications
  • Counseling
  • Parent/ Family Training
  • Specialized Nutritiona
  • Financial and Life Planning

Easter Seals Southern Georgia cannot pay for any services covered by Medicaid, Medicare or Private Insurance.
Kristen Baumgartel
Family Support Coordinator
Office:(229) 247-6912 


Download File

Family Support Application


Download File

Respite Care

Respite is time limited, temporary relief provided to the primary caregiver of individuals with a disability.  Respite allows families, who may otherwise be home bound, the opportunity to enjoy a well deserved break.  This service is designed to relieve families/caregivers of  the physical or emotional stress associated with caring for an individual with disabilities.  Respite may be provided in or out of the home, and may include the care of other young children. Families may select their own respite provider from relatives, neighbors, friends, etc..  However the person must reside outside of the caregivers home.  The respite provider selected by the family must undergo a criminal background check and be CPR certified.  Once an individual has completed this process, Easter Seals may pay them to provide respite.  Easter Seals will pay a respite provider $7.25 per hour or $45.00 per day (consisting of seven or more consecutive hours).   

Megan’s House – respite for children who have developmental disabilities, a diagnosis of autism, or medically fragile.
Megan’s House is a children’s respite home located in Albany, Valdosta and Waycross. These homes are the only ones of their kind south of Atlanta.

  • Care is provided by qualified, experienced Direct Support Professionals
  • Individual Care Plans are developed by a Registered Nurse
  • Respite care may be for crisis situations or scheduled visits
  • May serve a maximum of two (2) children at a time
  • Ages 0-17 are welcome
  • Servíces are as little as 24 hours up to 2 week. 
  • Cost based on sliding fee scale – scholarships available

Easter Seals Southern Georgia 
Kristen Baumgartel 
Megan’s House Coordinator 
Office:(229) 247-6912 

Champions for Children

The Champions for Children Program is designed to assist primarily children and families who do not meet the eligibility requirements for TEFRA/ Katie Beckett Medicaid Program 
Program Goals

  • Increase awareness throughout Georgia about non-profit services available to medically fragile and special needs children
  • Increase access to healthcare and support services
  • Help families continue to care for children with disabilities at home


  • Have applied for Katie Beckett and received a level of care denial 
  • Children up to the age of 21
  • Live at home
  • Have a physical, cognitive, developmental or medical disability

Current Medicaid recipients are not eligible for this program

Contact a Champions Coordinator at:
Fax: 229-435-6278
info@swga-easterseals.org They also have a lot of information and photos on their facebook page –https://www.facebook.com/essg1990

Sign up for their Newsletter

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