Renewing the Autism CARES Act

By: Taryn Oesch

March 5, 2019

Last month, Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) introduced H.R. 1058, which, among other things, would reauthorize the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (Autism CARES) Act. If this bill is not passed, the Autism CARES Act will expire at the end of September, according to Disability Scoop.

In addition to renewing the $260 million the law provides for each year, it adds an extra $368 million. It also provides more focus on adults with autism than the previous law. “The bill will also help ensure that the estimated 50,000 persons with autism each year who ‘age out’ of critical assistance programs and enter adulthood are supported, as many individuals and communities are unprepared for this transition,” Smith told Disability Scoop.

According to Autism Speaks, the Autism CARES Act is the main way the federal government funds autism research, services and training, and it has invested more than $3.1 billion to the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration for that purpose.

The Autism CARES Act also required a report to Congress on the state of adult autism services. In 2017, the resulting report, “Young Adults and Transitioning Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” provided a background on the needs of young adults with autism, activities by federal agencies to support those needs, and recommendations for data collection and research and services and supports.

We hope that these recommendations, along with the new focus on supporting individuals across the lifespan, will help work toward inclusion for people with autism throughout the workforce. Stay tuned for updates!