Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) apply to Child Care
from "Southern Maryland Child Care Resource Center Quarterly Newsletter" Summer 2000 Issue
Yes. Child care providers, whether family or centers providers are considered public accommodations under the law and cannot automatically exclude children from their services solely on the basis of the child's disability. Private programs are covered by Title III; public programs are covered by Title II. But, the needs of the child and the ability of the program to accommodate the child's needs must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Providers must make reasonable accommodations to meet the special needs of children with disabilities. This would include removal of barriers, physical and architectural; changes in policies, practices, and procedures; and the use of special equipment and services to ensure effective communication. The reasonable accommodations must be met unless doing so would 1) pose an undue burden (will result in a significant difficulty or expense to the program); 2) would fundamentally alter the nature of the program; or 3) if accommodations are not readily available (cannot be done without much difficulty or expense to the program).
Providers must also look for and offer reasonable alternatives if the originally requested or recommended accommodations cannot be reasonably provided. Services to the child may be denied if a child's condition would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual or others in the the child care setting and there are no reasonable means of removing the threat.
It is important to remember that each child's needs and the ability of the program to accommodate the child's needs is assessed on a case-by-case basis. To get more information on the ADA, the Department of Justice operates an ADA Information Line to answer general and technical questions during business hours on the weekdays. The toll free number is 800-514-0301 (voice) and 800-514-0383 (TDD).
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