The Autism CARES Act of 2019 Gets Unanimous Approval in the Senate

Cong. Smith meets with families and advocates for autism research back in 2011 on the eve of passage of Smith’s second autism bill, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, now Public Law 112-32.
September 20, 2019

The Autism CARES Act of 2019, co-sponsored by Jersey Shore Congressman Chris Smith (Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties) provides $1.8-billion over five years for autism related programs.

“This $1.8 billion, five-year package will fund a whole-of-government approach to helping children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families,” Smith said. “When enacted the law will authorize autism-related programs at National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $296 million, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at $23.1 million, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at $50.6 million annually.”

The Smith-Doyle bill also helps adults with autism who are often misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed and overlooked and emphasizes that causes, diagnosis, detection, prevention and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) must be available throughout the lifespan of a person with autism.

Congressman Smith cites statistics from Drexel University’s AJ Drexel Autism Center that states that about 70,700 to 111,600 children “age out” into adulthood each yearcreating challenges for education, housing, employment and access to health care.

“The problem of ‘aging out’ of services is a real hurdle every parent or caretaker of a child with autism inevitably faces,” Smith said. “All children grow up and become adults, and children with autism then lose their education services. But autism is a lifetime neurological disorder, and adults with autism continue to need their services. The Autism CARES Act recognizes that and ensures that the federal government continues to help hundreds of thousands of parents by funding research and support programs and sharing best practices.”

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