Maryland reduces waitlist for autism services by half

June 13, 2022

Autism Speaks applauds Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. for signing legislation (SB636/Chapter 464) to help decrease the waiting times for the state’s Autism Waiver. Commonly referred to as the “End the Wait Act”, the legislation calls for Maryland to develop a plan to cut the waitlist for the state’s Autism Waiver in half by fiscal year 2024.

“Maryland is putting the needs of kids and families first by enacting the End the Wait Act,” stated Stuart Spielman, senior vice president of advocacy of Autism Speaks. “This can be a lifeline for the families that desperately need access to services.”

Maryland’s Autism Waiver was a first-in-the-nation Medicaid program and aims to keep children safe at home and in the community. The waiver provides a wide array of supports - like day programs and residential services - that many autistic people and their families rely on throughout their lifespan. Approximately 1,350 children receive intensive individual support due to the waiver. However, the need to for services is much greater.  Families in Maryland that need services are currently placed on a waiting list for 8 or 9 years.

“We are grateful to the bill sponsors, Senator Craig Zucker and Delegate Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk for championing this measure, as well as House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson,” said Spielman.  “We look forward to working with the state to ensure a smooth implementation of the new law and to get our kids the supports they deserve.”