Autism: Autism CARES Act Facing Expiration

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act is facing expiration on September 30. This law funds critical 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), respectively. The House passed the measure (H.R.1058, as amended) this summer, but the Senate has yet to take it up. The Arc strongly supports the Autism CARES Act and appreciates the increase in the required number of self-advocates on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee in the House reauthorization bull. If this law is not reauthorized, numerous activities within CDC and HRSA that help millions of people with autism and other developmental disabilities are at risk. Since the law provides a hard sunset for these provisions, it means that funding for these efforts after September 30 will treated as “new money,” making restoration of these funds extremely difficult to achieve. These provisions fund important research to help better understand and support those with autism and other developmental disabilities, critical surveillance and public education efforts, and interdisciplinary training of health professionals that help to screen, diagnose (or rule out), and treat children and adults.

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