Missouri budget proposal includes opening two new autism centers

by | Jun 2, 2022 | Health / Medicine, Legislature, News, Show Me Today

Missouri could be getting two new autism centers. Valerie Huhn, the director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, says the state Legislature passed a state budget proposal that would open two centers in southwest Missouri.

“Right now, we do not have an autism center in the southwest area,” she said.

Valerie Huhn (Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Mental Health)

Missouri currently has autism centers in Columbia, Cape Girardeau, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

“Of course, this is dependent on the governor signing the budget because this was not included in his initial recommendations. But that would be an autism center in Joplin and an autism center in Springfield,” said Huhn.

The proposed budget would also provide funding to help eliminate a waiting list for families to have their child screened for autism at one of the state’s autism centers – a request Gov. Mike Parson made to lawmakers.

The names of more than 2,300 Missouri kids are sitting on a waiting list to determine if the children have autism. The state funding would help to recruit additional staff to screen these children. Like many industries, this line of work is dealing with a staffing shortage as well and the nationwide demand is high for workers to help children with developmental disabilities.

Parson has until the end of June to take action on the $49 billion state budget proposal.

Earlier story:

Missouri’s autism centers could get state aid to end waiting lists for screenings (LISTEN)

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