Autism: President Signs Autism CARES Act

On September 30, President Trump signed into law the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (H.R.1058). The Arc strongly supports this bill to reauthorize the Autism CARES Act, which 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). This reauthorization includes a greater focus on the needs of people with autism and other developmental disabilities across the lifespan. It also increases the minimum number of self-advocates on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The law was reauthorized for five years.

Autism: Senate Passes Autism Care Act

On September 19, the Senate passed the House version of the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (H.R.1058) by unanimous consent. The Arc strongly supports this bill to reauthorize the Autism CARES Act, which 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. This reauthorization includes a greater focus on the needs of people with autism and other developmental disabilities across the lifespan. Additionally, it increases the minimum number of self-advocates on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The bill now awaits President Trump’s signature.

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.

Autism: House Approves Autism CARES Act Reauthorization

On July 24, the House of Representatives approved the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (H.R.1058, as amended). 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), respectively. The Arc supports this legislation, which must next be approved by the Senate by September 30 in order to avoid expiration of the work done by the CDC and HRSA.

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.

Autism/Family Support: House Subcommittee Approves Autism CARES, Lifespan Respite Reauthorizations

On July 11, the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously voted to approve the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (H.R.1058); and the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.2035). 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. These bills must next be approved by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee. Visit the Committee website for more information, including video of the markup.

Autism/Family Support: House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Autism CARES, Lifespan Respite Reauthorizations

On June 25, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Reauthorizing Vital Health Programs for American Families.” The hearing examined four bills reauthorizing health laws, including the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act and the Lifespan Respite Care Act. Witnesses for these reauthorizations were Amy Hewitt, Director, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota; and Jill Kagan, Director, ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center. Visit the committee website to review testimony and archived video of the hearing.

Autism: Autism CARES Act Reauthorization Introduced in Senate and House

On February 7, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) introduced the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2019 (S.427, H.R.1058). 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).

Autism CARES Signed by President Obama

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2014 was signed into law on August 8, 2014 by President Obama. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), reauthorizes the Combating Autism Act of 2011 for an additional five years and makes a number of improvements to it. Since its original enactment in 2006, the law has significantly advanced the science and practice in the disability field by increasing the number, scope, pace, and coordination of research, surveillance, public awareness, and professional training efforts. This has resulted in an increase in the proportion of infants screened for autism spectrum disorder (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. The new law continues these efforts and makes the following improvements – a name change that uses more respectful language, a designated ASD 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 requiring a report on the needs of transitioning youth.For more information on the accomplishments of the prior legislation 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)”.

Autism CARES Is Law

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2014 was signed into law on August 8, 2014 by President Obama. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), reauthorizes the Combating Autism Act of 2011 for an additional five years and makes a number of improvements to it. Since its original enactment in 2006, the law has significantly advanced the science and practice in the disability field by increasing the number, scope, pace, and coordination of research, surveillance, public awareness, and professional training efforts. This has resulted in an increase in the proportion of infants screened for autism spectrum disorder (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. The new law includes continues these efforts and make the following improvements – a name change that uses more respectful language, a designated ASD 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 requiring a report on the needs of transitioning youth.For more information on the accomplishments of the prior legislation 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)”.