Senate passed bill that reauthorizes federal support for autism programs.
Passed Senate without amendment (07/31/2014)
The Autism CARES Act, H.R. 4631, requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to designate an official to oversee national autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research. It also extends autism education programs through 2019.“The Senate’s action today ensures these vital autism programs are reauthorized and continue providing research, services and supports individuals with autism and their families have come to rely on,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said. “The Autism CARES Act is a model of bipartisan, bicameral cooperation – and I am proud I was able to work on it and look forward to seeing the President sign this critical legislation into law.”
The House passed the measure by voice vote last month and the Senate agreed to it through a unanimous consent agreement. The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.
(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the House on June 24, 2014. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014 or the Autism CARES Act of 2014 - (Sec. 2) Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to designate an official to oversee national autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research, services, and support activities. Directs the official to implement such activities taking into account the strategic plan developed by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (the Interagency Committee) and ensure that duplication of activities by federal agencies is minimized.
Extends through FY2019: (1) the developmental disabilities surveillance and research program; (2) the autism education, early detection, and intervention program; and (3) the Interagency Committee.
(Sec. 3) Includes support for regional centers of excellence in ASD and other developmental disabilities epidemiology as a purpose of grants or cooperative agreements.
(Sec. 4) Requires information and education activities to be culturally competent. Allows a lead agency coordinating activities at the state level to include respite care for caregivers. Allows the use of research centers or networks for the provision of training in respite care and for research to determine practices for interventions to improve the health of individuals with ASD.
(Sec. 5) Revises responsibilities of the Interagency Committee concerning:
- inclusion of school- and community-based interventions in the Committee summary of advances,
- monitoring of ASD research and federal services and support activities,
- recommendations to the Director of the National Institutes of Health regarding the strategic plan,
- recommendations regarding the process by which public feedback can be better integrated into ASD decisions,
- strategic plan updates and recommendations to minimize duplication, and
- reports to the President and Congress.
Revises Interagency Committee membership requirements to specify additional federal agencies that might be represented and to modify the non-federal membership.
(Sec. 6) Modifies requirements for reports by the Secretary on ASD activities. Adds a requirement for a report to Congress concerning young adults with ASD and the challenges related to the transition from existing school-based services to those available during adulthood.
(Sec. 7) Authorizes appropriations to carry out the developmental disabilities surveillance and research program, the education, early detection, and intervention program, and the Interagency Committee for FY2015-FY2019.