The Autism Society of America is thrilled to learn that President Trump signed the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act today.

The RAISE Family Caregivers Act directs the Department of Health and Human Services to develop, maintain, and periodically update a Family Caregiving Strategy, a recommendation of the Commission on Long-Term Care.  The law is intended to address the urgent needs of the over 40 million caregivers (affecting about 16 percent of Americans) in this country assisting people with disabilities and those who are aging or have other illnesses.

The Autism Society has been at the forefront of efforts to provide supports and services to caregivers of individuals with autism and other disabilities since it was founded in 1965.  More than seventy-five percent of people with disabilities live at home with their families. Many family caregivers provide a life-time of daily assistance with activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, transportation, managing finances, administering medications, and coordinating care among multiple providers and settings. This can be very exhausting and expensive.  According to the AARP, the value of services provided by informal caregivers has steadily increased over the last decade, with an estimated economic value of $470 billion in 2013, up from $450 billion in 2009 and $375 billion in 2007. [AARP Public Policy Institute. (2015). Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update.] These families need and deserve support.

The Autism Society of America looks forward to working with the federal government agencies responsible for implementing the law to develop a strategy that promotes  person and family-centered care, family involvement in assessment and service planning, information sharing and care coordination with service providers, respite options, financial security and workplace issues, and efficient service delivery.