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Paige Dailey

My name is Paige Dailey and I am a proud mother to my 31-year-old daughter, Amber, a special needs individual who has been diagnosed with Autism, Neurological Damage/Intellectual Disability seizure disorder, and other medical conditions. Amber was born prematurely and was very ill. She was born with Group B strep, Pneumonia and Spinal Meningitis. She was resuscitated and stayed in the NICU for quite some time. I quit work to be able to meet Amber’s daily needs and research early intervention programs and therapeutic services. At the age of three, she started school and her therapy continued through Knox County and private resources throughout the years. Amber had always loved school but after graduation, we were faced with the task of finding something to create stimulation and continue learning daily. Fortunately, in 2016, Amber was approved for the ECF Choices waiver for funding to assist her daily needs and secure employment through the designated agency, Autism Breakthrough. Through this program, Amber has been employed part-time for 7 years with the YMCA. This agency provides transportation daily and the program ensures that Amber has stimulation, introduces her to new experiences, and promotes peer relationships.  

In October of 2022, I received a letter from TennCare that advised us that Amber’s insurance was being terminated. This was devastating to our family – the fear of termination of her insurance AND daily services provided under the ECF Choices waiver through Autism Breakthrough. Unfortunately, during this period, we received additional devastating news that my husband, Johnny, had Stage IV Mantle Cell Lymphoma. I did not know where to turn. I spoke with representatives of TennCare and was given no information. I asked for an appeal and finally, TennCare sent a letter that Amber received too much money per month to qualify for benefits. This possible termination of insurance and services put our lives on hold. Immediately, I contacted Brandi Glasscock of Tennessee Disability and she recommended TJC. From the moment we met, TJC worked diligently – researching ECF mandates and benefits, acquiring and preparing documentation, contacting TennCare, and assisting with our appeal. Ultimately, the appeal was granted and Amber was approved; her insurance and Autism Breakthrough services were reinstated with no interruption. We were so thankful. Amber desires what we all do - to be accepted, respected, and contribute to society socially and/or monetarily.  

We are so proud of Amber and her accomplishments. She and I love to do arts and crafts together, watch movies, go to the zoo, and play board and card games. Without the assistance of Diana, Caroline, and Vanessa of TJC, Amber’s life as she knew it would be so different. I have complete trust in TJC’s expertise and am so appreciative of their dedication to assisting our family. Because of Amber’s insurance and services through Autism Breakthrough, I am able to work and attend appointments for myself and my husband.  

Tennessee Justice Center is proud to honor Ms. Paige Dailey as a 2024 Mother of the Year for her dedicated care to her daughter and husband and for her advocacy on behalf of families like hers all across Tennessee. 

Photography by Fran Cliff.

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