Autism Program Loses State Funding, Advocates Worry About Staff Cuts
The Regional Autism Assistance Program (RAP) is one of ten programs to recently lose all of its state funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health. For RAP, the $384,552 cut is about 70 percent of its budget.
Advocates worry the budget cut could lead to the loss of the program’s family navigators. They’re stationed throughout the state and connect families to services when children are diagnosed with autism.
Kris Steinmetz is executive director at the Autism Society of Iowa. She says not having a local person to help families access services close to home could make things harder for people with autism.
"A lot of families are really worried about the cut of losing their family navigator, which is just a lifeline to services," Steinmetz says.
University of Iowa Health Care runs the program. A UIHC spokesman said in an email the details of dealing with this budget cut are "not yet final" and declined further comment.
Steinmetz says she hopes lawmakers reinstate funding for the program next year.