The purpose of the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance Center (ITAC) at AUCD is to improve the health of infants, children, and adolescents who have, or are at risk for developing, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental disabilities. The Center accomplishes this by providing technical assistance to interdisciplinary training programs (including LEND, DBP, and others) to better train professionals to utilize valid and reliable screening tools to diagnose or rule out and provide evidence-based interventions for children with ASD and other developmental disabilities. The ITAC at AUCD assists in training grantees in accomplishing these activities and ensure coordination of CARES projects.
AUCD's ITAC works closely with the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs' (AMCHP) State Public Health Autism Resource Center (SPHARC). The purpose of this center is to develop a strategy for defining, supporting, and monitoring the role of state Public Health agencies in assuring that children and youth with ASD and other developmental disabilities receive early and timely identification, diagnosis, and intervention.
As a result of the Combating Autism Act signed into law in December 2006 and its reauthorization as the Autism CARES Act in 2014, HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau has been able to hold a competitive grant process to both supplement current LEND programs to expand their training efforts in the field of autism as well as fund additional LEND programs in states that did not have one. These additional resources will increase the number of interdisciplinary professionals who are able to identify, assess, diagnose, and serve children with ASDs and other developmental disabilities.