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Receives International Recognition

The Department of Human Services today announced that its Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP), a program that promotes integrated and meaningful employment for adults with autism, has been recognized by the Vienna, Austria-based Zero Project as a model deserving international attention and replication. ACAP was one of three American programs of 443 nominations from around the world to be honored by the Zero Project.

“DHS is committed to making a future that truly includes individuals with autism as fully integrated members of our communities. We work every day to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have what they need so they can live everyday lives, and I’m thankful to the Zero Project for recognizing DHS’ work,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is absolutely critical that people with autism have the opportunities they deserve in order take part in that recovery. I hope that with this recognition, other states and countries will look to Pennsylvania as a world leader in supporting people on the autism spectrum.”

ACAP is a comprehensive system of care for adults with autism that provides services and supports to help them participate in their communities in the way that they choose. It is a managed care program that includes access to physical and behavioral health professionals, transportation services, education, in-home and independent living supports, and more, all with the goal of fostering independence and increasing a person’s quality of life.

The program also connects participants with support coordinators in order to develop job skills and create tailored employment plans while offering job coaching and guidance and support to companies and employers. ACAP has an employment rate 2-3 times higher than other programs supporting adults with autism – more than 50% of participants were employed in 2020, with an average job retention rate of 4.25 years.

ACAP was created in 2010 and is funded and administered by DHS’ Office of Developmental Programs’ Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, in partnership with Keystone Human Services, a managed care organization and a provider of services. ACAP is currently only available in Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties. 

The Zero Project’s mission supports the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations by sharing programs and models that improve the daily lives and legal rights of all people with disabilities. More information on the Zero Project can be found here.

More information on DHS’ resources for people with disabilities seeking employment can be found here. More information on Keystone Human Services can be found here.

For additional info, please contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.