Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Takes on Care of Children with Autism

January 13, 2004
David Carlson, Dept. of Human Services, (608) 242-6424 Sharyn Wisniewski, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823
County Executive

Arrangements are now in place for Dane County to serve children with autism disorders, County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today. Intensive therapy services were previously a benefit under the State of Wisconsin’s medical assistance program, but the state is now contracting with counties or other organizations to manage these services. “It is important that children with disabilities, including autism, receive services at an early age when they are most helpful in a child’s development,” said Falk. “We’ll do our best.” Dane County will receive more than $4 million in 2004 from the state Department of Health and Family Services to provide the services under a new federal Children’s Long-Term Support Medicaid waiver that took effect January 1. Included in the program are approximately 220 children with autism spectrum disorders in Dane County, many of whom are already receiving other support services from the county. The new state money will expand Dane County’s children’s disability program. In 2003, Dane County spent more than $4.2 million, including nearly $1.5 million in local tax dollars, to support and provide services to more than 1,200 children with physical and developmental disabilities and severe emotional disorders. In 2003, Dane County was the only county in Wisconsin to receive a “Level 1” rating, the highest rating, from the Wisconsin Council on Developmental Disabilities, which represents consumers and providers of disability services. This reflects the county’s strong commitment to serving people with developmental disabilities in the community. “Our county is the recognized leader in Wisconsin for providing services to children and adults with disabilities,” said Falk. “Now we’re extending our commitment even further.” Children under eight years of age who have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder and meet certain eligibility requirements will receive up to three years of intensive treatment services. Continuing treatment and support services will be made available to children who have exhausted the three year intensive level of service or who are over eight years of age. The Dane County Department of Human Services will manage the program. The department has contracted with the Madison based Family Support and Resource Center to provide case-management services to the families of children that will be served under the program. Contracts have also been signed with the Wisconsin Early Autism Project, Integrated Development Services and Families With Autism Counseling & Resource Center to provide services to children with autism. The three agencies will provide services until a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process is completed later this year. # # #