National Autism Nonprofits Streamline Advocacy Efforts

CASP, Industry,

The Council of Autism Service Providers is excited to announce it will assume the autism advocacy program of the Behavior Analysis Advocacy Network (BAAN) upon the latter’s dissolution. BAAN’s Board of Directors recently made the difficult decision to dissolve the 501(c)(6) organization and transfer all assets to CASP.

BAAN’s long-time Executive Director, Rebecca Womack, will assume a role on CASP’s Public Policy Committee, to ensure that the mission of BAAN continues within the CASP framework.

Formed in 2016, BAAN is a network of service providers, service recipients, and advocates who are committed to increasing the dissemination of quality behavior analytic services. One of BAAN’s primary activities is to facilitate concerns with the Defense Health Agency on behalf of military families with autism, providers, and agencies who serve them for better policies and coverage of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services.

Founded as an annual conference in 2009 and incorporated as a nonprofit in 2015, CASP is an international trade association that serves its members by cultivating, sharing, and advocating for best practices in autism services. CASP strengthened its advocacy prowess last year with the hiring of two veteran autism advocates, Lorri Unumb and Mike Wasmer, both formerly leaders in the Government Affairs department at Autism Speaks.

“I am grateful for the privilege of having been able to engage with policy makers and leadership teams, to relay provider or family challenges, and to use a solution-oriented approach to improving systems impacting families who have children with autism,” said Womack, a BCBA with 18 years of practice experience. “I look forward to continuing a volunteer advocacy role with the amazing advocates at CASP.”

“We are honored that the members of BAAN have entrusted CASP to carry on their important mission and welcome Rebecca’s participation on CASP’s Public Policy Committee,” said Rita Gardner, President & CEO of Melmark and chair of CASP’s Public Policy Committee. “We have a broad array of issues that need and deserve our attention, and we want to ensure we are advocating on behalf of military families as part of this work.”

CASP is a membership association for organizations, led by a 12-person board of directors, all of whom are executives at their respective autism organizations. The CASP board is chaired by Steve Muller, CEO of Balance Autism, who expressed excitement to streamline the two organizations’ efforts. “With so much work to do, we are excited to welcome those who were on the Behavior Analysis Advocacy Network team to our CASP family,” said Muller.

CASP staff members have experience collaborating with BAAN and working specifically with Womack. “Rebecca is a very effective advocate for the behavior analyst community and the clients they serve,” said Mike Wasmer, CASP’s Vice President for Government Affairs and Special Projects. “She has developed strong relationships in Congress, at the Defense Health Agency, and with the payer community at large.”

BAAN’s dissolution becomes effective in June 2020, and all website and social media traffic will be directed to CASP’s new Online CEU Center will also offer BAAN’s library of course videos starting June 30, 2020.