Article - Human Services
(a) There is a State Coordinator for Autism Strategy in the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.
(b) The State Coordinator for Autism Strategy, in consultation with the Advisory Stakeholder Group on Autism–Related Needs established under § 7–112 of this subtitle, shall:
(1) identify and evaluate existing public, private, and nonprofit services for individuals with autism and their families;
(2) on or before July 1, 2021, develop a strategic plan for addressing autism–related needs in the State, including, at a minimum, needs in the areas of employment, housing, health care, training for first responders and criminal justice professionals, and identification and intervention;
(3) identify national benchmarks and other performance measures to be included in the strategic plan and used in evaluating the success of the State in addressing autism–related needs; and
(4) monitor and evaluate the implementation of the strategic plan and the success of the State in addressing autism–related needs, including success in meeting national benchmarks.
(c) The strategic plan required under subsection (b) of this section shall specify performance measures, including any national benchmarks, for monitoring and evaluating success in addressing autism–related needs in the State including, at a minimum, the following:
(1) reducing the unemployment and underemployment rates of people with autism;
(2) improving postsecondary transition services and graduation rates;
(3) increasing degree–granting college admission and participation and postsecondary vocational internships and apprenticeships leading to licensure;
(4) increasing the availability of safe, affordable, and accessible housing;
(5) identifying and reducing the negative physical and mental health outcomes of people with autism, including:
(i) identifying and improving caregiver and family support and respite services;
(ii) evaluating need and implementation strategies for the adult autism waiver;
(iii) reducing wait times for the Autism Waiver Registry;
(iv) promoting social inclusion and understanding for people with autism; and
(v) ensuring equitable access to diagnostic and therapeutic support services in rural areas and for underserved populations; and
(6) evaluating the need for and making recommendations regarding training programs for law enforcement, criminal justice professionals, or other first responders that address the effective recognition of and response to the needs of individuals with autism and their caregivers.
(d) (1) On or before July 1 each year, beginning in 2021, the State Coordinator for Autism Strategy shall submit a report to the Secretary of Disabilities, the Governor, and, in accordance with § 2–1257 of the State Government Article, the General Assembly on the development, implementation, and effectiveness of the strategic plan required under subsection (b) of this section.
(2) Within 30 days after a report required under paragraph (1) of this subsection is submitted, the State Coordinator for Autism Strategy shall publish the report on the Department’s website.
(e) For fiscal year 2023 and each fiscal year thereafter, the Governor shall include in the annual budget bill an appropriation to fund the position of State Coordinator for Autism Strategy and the Advisory Stakeholder Group on Autism–Related Needs.