Health care advocates are concerned that California might not be adequately prepared to care for the state's population of young adults with autism, the Ventura County Star reports.
The Star article is part of a series about California children with autism who are aging into adulthood.
About 60,000 residents currently receive state-funded services for developmental disabilities, a significant increase from the fewer than 5,000 residents who received such services in the mid-1990s.
A large percentage of such residents are people younger than 22, the age when they no longer qualify for special education services in public schools.
In the next three years, thousands of young adults with autism in California will reach that age threshold.
Details of Concerns
Rick Rollens -- who lobbies for an association of 21 regional centers that provide services to adults with developmental disabilities -- said the state is "woefully behind" in preparing to serve young adults with autism.
According to the Star, the average cost of treating an individual with autism at regional centers averaged almost $12,000 last year. Meanwhile, the regional centers have sustained nearly $1 billion in budget cuts over the past three years.
Rollens said the state should be implementing residential programs, day programs and employment opportunities to help Californians with autism.
Fred Robinson -- CEO of Arc Ventura County, which serves autistic adults -- said that such initiatives are "very much in the developmental stage," adding, "We're not there at all. It's a whole challenge that is going to upend our [care] delivery system" (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 9/22).