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Keystone Autism Services History
To sustain our commitment to comprehensive systems of care and our tradition of excellence in specialized services, Keystone Human Services has established a new subsidiary corporation, Keystone Autism Services (KAS). Keystone Autism Services is an exciting synthesis of the extensive and diverse autism supports provided through various arenas of Keystone Human Services.
In fostering an environment where all people can grow, make choices and be valued and contributing members of society, Keystone Human Services has sought to recognize the diversity of needs in every community. Keystone Autism Services will enable us to recognize the needs of an entire population of individuals living with autism spectrum disorders, from children to adults, as well as their families.
Through immense strides in awareness and activism, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare recognized the need for a program office devoted specifically to the concerns of people living with autism, and in February 2007, they announced the formation of the Bureau of Autism Services. One of the Bureau’s primary goals is the development of targeted supports and services for adults with autism spectrum disorders.
In the ever-increasing emphasis on autism detection, diagnosis and support across the nation, most attention has been directed to the development of services for children and infants. While these tremendously valuable advances can greatly improve the early development of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, many adults living with ASDs were born prior to federal mandates for standardized support programs and have received little to no personalized support. Through the work of Children & Family Services, Susquehanna Service Dogs and Keystone's other autism services at the time, Keystone Human Services has garnered a valued community role in providing autism spectrum disorder supports for adults. The formation of Keystone Autism Services will enable a more intensive, integrated and specialized focus on the needs and concerns of these members of the community, as well as the needs of their families. Keystone Autism Services will provide a broad array of services to persons with autism spectrum disorders, including residential, vocational, behavioral, developmental and therapy services in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Among its autism services, Keystone Human Services administers two separate programs for autism support: the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP) in Pennsylvania and the federal Adult Autism Waiver program.
KAS has been selected by the Bureau of Autism Services to implement ACAP. This important program will provide comprehensive services to 200 adults with autism spectrum disorders living in Dauphin, Cumberland, Chester and Lancaster Counties. As an integrative system of care, ACAP will incorporate health care, vocational, social and behavioral supports.
On May 22, 2008, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced that Pennsylvania had been approved for a ground-breaking federal waiver program to provide home- and community-based services for adults with autism. This $20 million-a-year Adult Autism Waiver program is expected to serve up to 200 individuals with autism ages 21 and older. As qualified provider agencies, Keystone Human Services and Keystone Autism Services are authorized to provide a wide range of autism services to adults, including residential, vocational, in-home and leisure time services. Keystone provides services under the Waiver program in 24 Pennsylvania counties. Services are available throughout Pennsylvania through other providers as well.
The launch of Keystone Autism Services is both a culmination of an ever-growing commitment to the individuals who live with autism and their families and the commencement of an exciting new chapter in the Keystone story. Through the work of KAS, Keystone is becoming a leader in community-based services for people with autism spectrum disorders, striving to establish a model for all of Pennsylvania that will impact autism awareness and support for years to come.
The work of Keystone Autism Services provides all of us with a tremendous opportunity to continue our mission of Advancing the Human Spirit and to work toward a time when all people are valued, participating and contributing members of our community. We are collectively building a brighter future for individuals and our community, ensuring that the gifts of all people are fully recognized and celebrated.