House Funds Autism Services!
$5.4 Million Will Allow Beginning of Adult Services for People with Autism
Advocates for individuals with Autism are delighted to report that earlier today both the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Brian Dempsey, and the House of Representatives lead by Speaker of the House, Rep. Bob DeLeo, recommended and then enacted a supplemental spending bill that included $5.4 million for extending DDS services to people with autism, prader-willi and smith magenis syndrome, previously denied service.
ON TO THE SENATE
The supplemental budget request now goes to the Senate, where advocates are optimistic, noting the strong support for Autism Services by both the Senate President Therese Murray and the Senate Ways and Means Vice Chair Jen Flanagan who both were instrumental in the passage of the Autism Omnibus Bill of 2014.
The funds contained in the supplemental budget request, submitted by Governor Deval Patrick and advocated for by his staff, complements the passage this summer of the Autism Omnibus Bill which allows individuals who need service but score higher than 70 on an IQ test to be eligible for services.
That change in eligibility now opens DDS services, including residential, employment and family supports for many long denied service in Massachusetts, while similar services were offered by most other states to this population.
DDS has indicated that in implementing the expanded definition, the department would phase service in during FY 15 by contacting individuals recently denied service; and then would expect more individuals to seek service in the following budget year requiring a $10 million appropriation for expanded services in the FY 16 budget.
ADDP and The Arc of Massachusetts have included a $10 million FY 16 request for inclusion in next year's House One budget.