Autism CARES Signed into Law

September 30, 2019

On September 30, 2019, Autism CARES was signed into law.

AUCD applauds the signing of the Autism Cares Act of 2019 into law by President Trump. This bipartisan law will expand research and coordination, increase public awareness and surveillance, and expand interdisciplinary health professional training to identify and support individuals with autism and their families.

What to know about the new law:

  • Authorizes programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through Fiscal Year 2024, and reauthorizes and expands the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC);
  • Adds new members of IACC from the Departments of Labor, Justice, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development;
  • Increases from two to three IACC members who are self-advocates, parents or legal guardians and represent advocacy/service organizations;
  • Directs the Health and Human Services Secretary to prioritize grants to "rural and underserved areas;"
  • Requires a comprehensive report to Congress on the demographic factors associated with the health and well-being of individuals with ASD, recommendations on establishing best practices to ensure interdisciplinary coordination, improvements for health outcomes, community-based behavioral support and interventions, nutrition and recreational and social activities, and personal safety.

The impact of your advocacy:

  • Copsonsored by 173 members in the House
    • 127 Democrats
    • 46 Republicans
  • Cosponsored by 43 in the Senate
    • 24 Democrats
    • 18 Republicans
    • 1 independent

This is HUGE growth over cosponsor levels for 2014 reauthorization (House had 86 and the Senate had 18).

CARES Cosponsors


Lessons Learned and Next Steps:

  • Your members of Congress and their staffs benefit from hearing about the impact of your federally-funded work
    • Updating them on projects,training cohorts, research findings and impact helps to build and maintain champions
  • Authorization is separate from appropriations
    • While CARES now has five years of authorization, members will need to appropriate funds to support the programs each year
    • The more your Congressional delegation knows about the work you do, the stronger the chances are for funding support