Autism/Family Support: House Committee Approves Autism CARES, Lifespan Respite, F2F Health Information Centers Reauthorizations

On July 17, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (H.R 1058, as amended); the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.2035); and the Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act (H.R. 2328, as amended), which includes extension of the Family to Family (F2F) Health Information Centers through 2023. The Autism CARES Act funds autism research, surveillance, and education programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Lifespan Respite Care Program, through grants to states, helps build coordinated state lifespan respite systems, helps family caregivers pay for respite or find funding sources, encourages development of new and innovative community and faith based respite opportunities, and trains respite workers and volunteers. Family to Family (F2F) Health Information Centers provide critical support to families caring for children and youth with special health care needs (and assist providers, state and federal agencies, legislators, and other stakeholders to better understand and serve this constituency). These bills must next be approved by the full House of Representatives and then taken up by the Senate. Visit the Committee website for more information, including video of the markup. The Arc supports all three reauthorizations and is very pleased that the amendment to the Autism CARES Act requires three self-advocates (up from two) on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

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