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What is the 2019 Autism CARES Act?

Following unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate, President Donald Trump signed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act into law on September 30, 2019.

The Autism Cares Act of 2019 is an expansion of the original that was signed into law in 2006, providing more than $1.8 billion in funding to support people across the country with autism.

Among other things, the 2019 Act:

  • Increases the annual federal budget for autism initiatives and research.
  • Expands governmental resources to support people with autism over their lifetimes.
  • Expands the role of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).

The Autism CARES Act is a landmark initiative providing valuable services to millions of people in the United States. Its renewal and expansion will allow even more people to obtain treatment and support throughout their lives.

Keep reading to learn more about the Autism CARES Act of 2019, then contact Therapeutic Pathways for information about our services for people with autism.


Increase in Annual Budget

The CARES Act is the main source of funding for autism research and training. The 2019 Act added $1.8 billion to the existing $3.1 billion in federal funding which is allocated over five years.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the 2019 CARES Act authorizes $369.6 million per year in the 2019-2024 period.

The CBO also provides a breakdown of the $396.6 million:

  • $23.1 million per year for the developmental disabilities surveillance and research program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • $50.5 million per year for efforts in autism education, early detection, and intervention.
  • $296 million per year for research grants at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and operation costs of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).

This funding helps people with autism in many ways.

Research programs and institutions will receive more money for their efforts, meaning there could be answers to the potential cause(s) of autism in the future. This money also supports programs and initiatives that are already in place, helping improve the quality of life for people with autism.

Not only that, but medical professionals will receive better training to detect autism early – that’s extremely important for treatment.

Supporting People With Autism Over Their Lifetimes

The Autism CARES Act of 2019 makes more services available to more people. Autism is a lifelong condition, but with proper treatment individuals can become more independent over time. The CARES Act broadens the scope of treatment to include people of all ages instead of being restricted to children.

The Act also expands government initiatives in recognizing and treating autism in adults who may have been overlooked in the past. As scientists learn more about the presentation and symptoms of autism, they realize that many people were misdiagnosed or left out altogether.

Thanks to the CARES Act, misdiagnoses can be vastly reduced, allowing people with autism to live more satisfying, fuller lives with the option for treatment.


Expanding the Role of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)

Autism treatment is strengthened when a team of dedicated experts can inform healthcare providers on the best ways to care for clients. Thanks to the Autism CARES Act of 2019, experts are empowered to advise policymakers and government agencies on federal autism initiatives based on current research.

As an organization, the IACC coordinates efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They work closely with the Secretary of the HHS on issues related to autism and develop ways to better serve citizens with this disorder across the country.

The IACC also helps advance research and makes recommendations based on the public’s concerns. They listen to families, parents, caregivers, and teachers in order to understand the needs of individuals with autism, and submit a plan to Congress to meet those needs.

The CARES Act of 2019 expands the role of the IACC by requiring them to submit a report to Congress explaining how each state uses home and community-based services to provide support for individuals with autism of all ages. This keeps states accountable and helps people with autism access resources over their lifetime.


Therapeutic Pathways Upholds the Standards of the 2019 Autism CARES Act

Our goal at Therapeutic Pathways is to help every child, adolescent, and adult with autism access high-quality services through compassionate care. As an organization, we believe in what the CARES Act stands for – accessibility, inclusion, and effective care for every individual with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

To learn more about how we incorporate the CARES Act, contact us at (209) 422-3280.