Help for families caring for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who struggle with access to adequate health services and social opportunities.
The Capstone Center is pleased to share the news about a bill that was recently introduced into the United States House of Representatives: the Autism Family Caregivers Act (AFCA). The AFCA would help equip parents/caregivers with the training and tools that are essential to support healthy development in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities.
The bill proposes a five-year pilot program that will award grants to nonprofit organizations, community health centers, hospital systems, or a consortium to provide parent/caregiver skills training to family caregivers of children with ASD.
“We are thrilled to hear that this important bill has begun a journey toward passage. Access to grants for more centers and programs will alleviate pressure for families, and provide more opportunities for those with ASD and related disabilities to live their best lives. This is an incredible time! We look forward to monitoring the bill’s progress and hope to see the AFCA in place as soon as possible.” —Ruth DeBar, Ph.D. BCBA-D (NY) | Director, The Capstone Center
Specifically intended for underserved communities, AFCA grants will create opportunities for children with ASD to live and have easier access to adequate health services and social engagement opportunities. The pilot program is proposed to roll out at 25 caregiver training sites in at least 15 states.
Evidence-based parent/caregiver skill trainings will teach family caregivers how to use everyday routines and home activities to improve the mental and physical well being of individuals with ASD, and to alleviate the pressure on the caregivers themselves. Trainings would focus on skills such as:
The measure would also establish a Caregiver Skills Training National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center to help implement the caregiver skills training programs at the various sites. The Center would take the lead in evaluating the effectiveness of various training programs on improving the lives of children with ASD.
U.S. Rep Grace Meng of New York, one of the sponsors of the bill, said of its potential impact, “Giving caregivers a route to get the type of training and resources they need not only benefits the communities they serve but also the children’s lives they are in charge of enhancing.”
On behalf of the national community of families with children with ASD, we are excited that this important bill has begun its journey. We will continue to provide updates on its status.
For more information about how The Capstone Center can help your family, call 973.228.2800 or visit our website to learn about our center-based program and support services.