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Friday, January 28, 2011
Justice Department Signs Agreement with Fairfax County, Virginia, to Ensure Civic Access for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced an agreement with Fairfax County, Va., to improve access to all aspects of civic life for persons with disabilities. The agreement was reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 

“Access to public programs and facilities is a civil right, and individuals with disabilities must have the opportunity to participate in local government programs, services and activities on an equal basis with their neighbors,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division.   “Fairfax County has made significant progress towards achieving full ADA compliance, and this agreement sets out a realistic plan for the county to get there.   I commend the county officials for making this commitment to its residents and visitors with disabilities, and for working with us to attain equal access to all of its programs, activities and services.”

 

As part of the PCA initiative, Justice Department investigators, attorneys and architects survey state and local government facilities, services and programs in communities across the country to identify the modifications needed for compliance with ADA requirements. The agreements are tailored to address the steps each community must take to improve access.   This agreement is the 186th under the PCA initiative.

 

Under the agreement announced today, Fairfax County will take important steps to improve access for individuals with disabilities, such as:

  • Making physical modifications to facilities surveyed by the department so that parking, routes into the buildings, entrances, service areas and counters, restrooms, public telephones and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities;
  • Providing access to county programs;
  • Surveying other facilities and programs and making modifications wherever necessary to achieve full compliance with ADA requirements;
  • Administering a grievance procedure for resolving complaints of violations of Title II of the ADA;
  • Ensuring that any county programs for victims of domestic violence and abuse are accessible to people with disabilities;
  • Providing accessible polling places;
  • Providing effective communication;
  • Posting, publishing and distributing a notice to inform members of the public of the provisions of Title II and their applicability to the county’s programs, services and activities;
  • Undertaking the required planning and modifications to ensure equal, integrated access to emergency management for individuals with disabilities, including emergency preparedness, notification, evacuation, sheltering, response, clean up and recovery;
  • Ensuring that 9-1-1 emergency service calls placed by persons with disabilities who use text telephones (TTYs) are answered as quickly as other calls, that such calls are monitored for timing and accuracy, and that employees are trained and practiced in using a TTY to make and receive calls;
  • Ensuring that the county’s employment policies comply with the regulations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission implementing Title I of the ADA;
  • Ensuring that the county’s official website and other web-based services are accessible to people with disabilities;
  • Amending the county’s police policies and procedures for law enforcement; and
  • Implementing a comprehensive plan to improve the accessibility of the county’s sidewalks and pedestrian crossings by installing accessible curb ramps throughout Fairfax County.   

Fairfax County was formed in 1742.   The county consists of 395 square miles of land and 12 square miles of water.   It is the most populous county in Virginia, with more than 1 million residents, comprising more than 13 percent of the total population of the state.   According to U.S. Census data, more than 100,000 Fairfax County residents have a disability.

 

Today’s agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments. The department will actively monitor the county’s compliance with the agreement, which will remain in effect for 7½ years.  The department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement until all required actions have been completed.

 

People interested in finding out more about the ADA, today’s agreement with Fairfax County, the PCA initiative, or the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments can access the ADA Web page at www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

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