Governor Newsom Signs Bill Protecting Children with Autism


Autism Service Providers are Now Mandated Reporters

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 189, a bill authored by Assembly Member Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D – Los Angeles) and co-sponsored by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). The bill, which adds autism service providers to the state’s list of individuals who are mandated reporters, received overwhelming support from both the California Assembly and Senate.

By making qualified autism service providers, professionals and paraprofessionals mandated reporters, AB 189 makes it a crime for these individuals not to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

“Children with autism may not always be able to advocate for themselves, so it’s imperative that all individuals who provide services to them are trained to recognize and report suspected abuse,” said Assembly Member Kamlager-Dove.

“We are so thankful for Assembly Member Kamlager-Dove’s dedication to California’s autism community,” said Doreen Granpeesheh, Ph.D., BCBA-D, chief executive officer and founder of CARD. “Children with autism are at a higher risk for abuse, so it’s critical for those who provide services to these children to be trained to recognize and report abuse.”

California is home to more autism treatment providers than any other state, and the field of autism treatment continues to grow to meet the needs of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) will now explicitly require autism treatment providers and their clinical employees to report suspected incidents of abuse or neglect. 

According to Assembly Member Kamlager-Dove, “Mandated reporter laws are in place to prevent children, along with at-risk individuals, from being abused and to end abuse or neglect at the earliest possible stage. Adding qualified autism service providers to the list of individuals who are mandated reporters under CANRA will help to protect children on the autism spectrum.”

Autism treatment providers will be required to provide their clinical employees with a statement informing them of their mandated reporter status and explaining their obligations to report suspected child abuse and neglect. To make a report, a mandated reporter must immediately contact the appropriate law enforcement agency. The new law takes effect January 1, 2020.


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