Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) is an award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1978 by a group of parents confronting inappropriate and limited service options for their children with autism. For over three decades, QSAC has been guided by the principle that every child and adult with autism deserves the highest quality of treatment and care that enables them to live meaningful and fulfilled lives in our society. Today over 1100 QSAC employees join together at over 20 facilities in Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, and Nassau County to provide educational, residential, therapeutic and family support services to over 2,700 people each year, including 1,400 individuals who receive direct services.
QSAC offers a wide range of individualized clinical services based on best practices and Applied Behavior Analysis, an evidenced-based intervention for which the agency became a certified trainer in 2011. All of QSAC’s clinical services are supported by a multi-disciplinary team of trained, experienced and empathic professionals including speech-language pathologists, behaviour analysts and therapists, childhood educators, psychologists and social workers. In addition, the organization’s team is supported by a Professional Advisory Board composed of distinguished clinicians and prominent research scientists. The success of all programs is based on the partnership between professionals and families. These partnerships are crucial to the remarkable and lasting progress which clients are able to achieve. Family members are trained to become facilitators and advocates for their child’s learning in the home and in the community thru all life stages.
QSAC has earned a well deserved reputation for caring for the underserved community and for taking on individuals with severe behavior problems, a unique distinction in the State that has made QSAC a valuable and trusted partner with city and state governments. In recent years, QSAC has been chosen by the government to assume responsibility for four problematic residential projects based on its reputation for high quality management and service. QSAC was recognized in 2011 as one of the Top-Rated Children & Families Nonprofit in GreatNonprofits 2011 Children & Families Campaign, a survey conducted with donors, families and consumers of services for the developmentally disabled.
Gary A. Maffei, MPA celebrated his 20th anniversary as Executive Director and CEO of QSAC in 2012. He is supported by a senior management team that has worked together for the past 17 years, a period characterized by consistent growth, flexibility in the face of change, and constant innovation. QSAC has a strong record of retaining talented and devoted staff, a direct result of the agency’s commitment to facilitating the growth of our staff through education, training, and leadership, and to promoting best practices and continuous improvement. QSAC has an annual operating budget reaching $40 million and a proud record of clean audits every year since the agency was founded.
The mission of QSAC is built on a foundation of core values that inform each and every practice of the organization. These values include:
Integrity: We respect the human dignity and individuality of each person served, drawing upon the strength and diversity of staff, families and communities to empower lasting change.
Quality: We strive for excellence in service delivery based on an integrated team approach using innovative, evidence-based methodologies. We hire dedicated and compassionate professionals, facilitate the growth of our staff through education, training, and leadership, and promote innovation and continuous improvement.
Collaboration: We partner with government agencies, service providers and families to ensure a continuum of quality care for people with autism, and to build the capacity of all sectors to work together to maximize the development and integration of people with autism within our society.
Accountability: We do everything with uncompromising ethical principles, honesty and accountability to our mission. We effectively manage the contributions of our funders by maintaining sound fiscal policies while striving for excellence.
In realizing our mission, QSAC strives to:
To be the premier provider of comprehensive, evidence-based treatment, training and services for underserved individuals across the autism spectrum throughout all stages of their lives. QSAC ensures the highest quality services to consumers and families in the New York Metropolitan area through cutting-edge training for staff and other professionals, collaboration with renowned clinicians, and linkages with health centers for clinical care and research.
Autism is the fastest-growing childhood disorder in America and is now considered a public health crisis. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that causes significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that an average of 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys) in the U.S has an ASD and the prevalence of autism increased 289.5% from 1997 to 2008. While it remains unclear how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASDs and better efforts in diagnosis, the CDC concludes that a true increase cannot be ruled out and any increase requires more health and education services. According to the New York State Department of Health, approximately 1% of the population of New York State (195,000 people) has an ASD and approximately 2,000 children will be diagnosed with an ASD this year in the State.
Upwards of 65% of QSAC consumers are from disenfranchised communities of color, often headed by single parent households living near or below the poverty line. This vulnerable population has well documented barriers to the diagnosis and care of individuals with autism by their families, including language limitations, mistrust of government, limited access to transportation, low awareness of treatment options, and shame of their children’s behavior, in addition to very limited out-of-pocket funds to support private education and care of adults with autism. At a time when waiting lists for QSAC services continue to grow, our nation’s deep recession has reduced government budgets and private contributions. QSAC takes pride in specializing in service to individuals with the most severe behavior problems, yet government contracts often fail to cover the high costs involved in providing comprehensive and safe services to this group.
QSAC has an overhead rate of 13%, and clean audits since it was founded 33 years ago. Funding for QSAC goes directly to individuals living with autism and their families in communities most in need.