Katreda Norman is mother to Tempestt, a vibrant 31-year-old. Tempestt was born with health needs including intellectual disability and blindness. She is also prone to lymphedema, a collection of fluid in the arms and legs.
When Tempestt was around six years old, her family realized she needed additional educational support, so they found a daycare for kids with disabilities. Tempestt continued her education at the Tennessee School for the Blind until she was 22. When Tempestt graduated, Katreda worked to find a way to keep her daughter safe and healthy in the community, with the supports she needed, while also being able to support herself and her family.
Katreda had been serving her community at the police department, but that demanding schedule eventually conflicted with the demands of being a full-time caregiver for Tempestt. In July 2016, she learned about Employment and Community First (ECF) CHOICES, a new TennCare (Medicaid) program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The process of applying for this new program and organizing the services Tempestt need proved daunting, so Katreda reached out to the Tennessee Justice Center for help cutting through the red tape. TJC worked with Katreda to arrange the Medicaid support that enables her to be Tempestt’s caregiver. Katreda remarked that TJC “didn’t have to walk in my shoes to know my pain, to know what I needed for my daughter.”
Thanks to Medicaid and Katreda’s dedicated caregiving, Tempestt is able to thrive in her community. During the day, they walk on the track at the YMCA, go to the park, and pick up groceries together. They celebrate special occasions with Tempestt’s favorite catfish dinner. Tempestt loves having her mom as her full-time caregiver. Katreda warmly says of her new ability to stay home, “God has given me a special blessing.”
Congress has just given Katreda a new worry by tacking massive Medicaid cuts onto the bill that will repeal Obamacare. She worries what will happen to Tempestt and the children of other mothers who face similar challenges.
TJC is honored to recognize Katreda as a 2017 Mother of the Year for her tireless efforts to ensure her daughter’s health care needs are met.