Press Release                                                             For additional information, contact: 

                                                                                          Celane McWhorter, 703-683-1166

                                                                                          Donna Meltzer, 301-588-8252




American Association of University Affiliated Programs (AAUAP) Calls for Passage of the Family Opportunity Act


The American Association of University Affiliated Programs (AAUAP) has strongly endorsed the Family Opportunity Act.  Through the leadership of Senators Edward Kennedy and Charles Grassley the bill is moving through the Senate as S. 2274 with the support of over fifty Senators and a large number of national advocacy organizations.  AAUAP is pleased that the bill will be introduced in the House today by Representatives Pete Sessions, Fred Upton, Tom Barrett, Sherrod Brown, and Henry Waxman.    


AAUAP represents a national network of university-based researchers, trainers and technical assistance entities charged by the Federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act to translate the best scientifically validated practices for individuals with developmental disabilities into high quality, leading edge community-based services and supports for individuals and their families.  There are sixty-one “UAPs” at universities across the country, with at least one in every state and territory. 


AAUAP is in a unique position to recognize the importance of the Family Opportunity Act.  The UAP system has a strong commitment to family supports and health care initiatives.  Many UAPs experience first hand the struggles of parents who must make daily decisions compromising their family lifestyle in order to secure the supports needed to sustain their child with a severe disability.   With passage of the Family Opportunity Act, the possibility would exist that families would no longer have to refuse jobs, forgo pay raises, and otherwise restrict their ability to join the rest of America on its movement up the economic ladder.  States would have the option to allow parents to increase their income and still have access to Medicaid coverage for their child.  Under the bill parents could safely move out of poverty with assurances that their child would receive the care they need.  Families would share in the cost to the State for the Medicaid services, through a system of sliding scale fees based on the family income levels. 


The American Association of University Affiliated Programs believes that S. 2274 and its companion bill in the House of Representatives is a long overdue break for families of children with developmental disabilities and significant health care challenges.  The AAUAP network joins organizations and individuals across the nation in urging leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate to ensure passage of this bill in the 106th Congress.