Enactment by President Obama Expected Soon
Last week, the Senate unanimously passed S. 2449, the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014 (Autism CARES) Act. The Arc has long supported this legislation.
The bill reauthorizes the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 for an additional five years. Since its original enactment in 2006, the law has significantly advanced the science and practice in the autism field by increasing the number, scope, pace, and coordination of research, surveillance, public awareness, and professional training efforts. Among its many notable achievements are an increase in the proportion of infants screened for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), an increase in the proportion of children diagnosed by the age of three, and continuing improvements to decrease the time between diagnosis and intervention.
Thanks to this law, health professionals are able to better serve people with ASD and other developmental disabilities. The professional education on screening, diagnosis, and appropriate interventions will greatly help to improve outcomes for millions of Americans.
The Arc is immensely grateful to the lead sponsors, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) for their leadership in advancing this bipartisan legislation. Additionally, advocates are pleased with improvements that have been made to the 2011 law – a name change that uses more respectful language, a designated position in the Department of Health and Human Services to oversee the law’s implementation, increased representation of self-advocates and family members on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), and the requirement of a report on the needs of transitioning youth.
For more information on the Combating Autism Act see, “Report to Congress on Activities Related to Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities Under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 and Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (FY 2010-FY 2012)”.