North Carolina needs to continue its public investments to ensure quality, accountable service and support systems that focus on community settings and make sure that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder achieve a good quality of life. Our state continues to have an extensive waiting list for services and supports, currently at 10,000 people with developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.
ASNC issues two-year policy targets to match up with the two-year legislative and budget cycle. We seek input on policy targets from community members, look at the legislative outlook, and decide which issues we will work on to create policy changes.
2017-19 Policy Targets
1. North Carolina must ensure a high quality continuum of services and supports for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families across the lifespan, with a focus on community settings and ensuring that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder achieve a good quality of life. This includes access to developmentally appropriate services, supports and interventions; health care; employment supports; and long-term care.
- Ensure that the services system is accessible and better serves individual needs of people with autism through eliminating Innovations community-based waiver waiting lists, funding autism services under Medicaid EPSDT requirements, increasing state-funded intellectual and/or developmental disability (IDD) services for people without health-care coverage, and increasing community-based IDD crisis services for youth and adults.
- Ensure that adults across the autism spectrum have access to the training, services, and supports needed to be prepared for employment.
2. The education system should be accessible to and better serve people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Students should have options that suit the unique needs of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Increase per-student funding for special education and allocate special-education funding to address individual education needs.
- Increase autism-related training and professional development for teachers and other school staff.
- Ensure that employment is an outcome of education services by improving IEPs and transition plans as well as access to vocational training, job experience, and post-secondary opportunities that meet individuals’ goals and aspirations.
3. North Carolina should develop policies and invest in services to ensure quality life outcomes for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. Our public and private health-care system should support people in community settings, operate in a transparent fashion, be outcomes-focused, provide integrated access to physical health care and prevention, recognize the unique needs of people on the autism spectrum, and include self-advocates and families in the decision-making process.
- Encourage innovative service delivery, professional education, and funding that will improve the geographic distribution and quality of services across the state. This includes adequate funding for a well-trained and stable direct-care workforce.
- Ensure that the needs of people with autism are met in Medicaid as NC implements managed-care options.
- Focus the services system on person-centered outcomes.
4. Our system of justice and individual rights should recognize the needs of individuals with autism and their families to ensure that people are safe, treated equitably, and able to exercise their personal freedoms.
- Create access to autism-related training (similar to that for law enforcement) for judges, magistrates, court systems, county departments of social services, and others involved in determinations of guardianship, child protection, individual and parental rights, and other legal issues.
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