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The Justice Department reached a settlement agreement today with the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA – Rocky Run Branch to resolve allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying a child the opportunity to participate in after-school and summer camp programs because of her type 1 diabetes.
Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations, including private camps and childcare programs. Under the ADA, such entities must make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices or procedures when necessary to provide equal access to a child with a disability, unless a modification would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods and services. When a parent and a child’s physician determine that it is appropriate for a trained layperson to assist a child with diabetes care, a camp or childcare program must provide this as a reasonable modification under the ADA, unless doing so would fundamentally alter the program.
The Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA – Rocky Run Branch refused to perform diabetes related tasks, including administering glucagon in the event of a low blood glucose level emergency and supervising the child to self-administer insulin. YMCA also limited the child’s participation in the after-school program by allowing her to attend only until 4:00 p.m., even though the program ran until 6:00 p.m. Finally, YMCA asked the child’s parents to supply an aide to monitor the child in the summer day camp program.
“After-school and camp programs enable children to learn and socialize with their friends, and enable parents to ensure that their children are well-cared for, and YMCAs are one of the key providers parents turn to for that care,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Such providers may not exclude children with disabilities, and the Department of Justice will continue to aggressively fight all forms of discrimination that deny children with disabilities the protections and opportunities they deserve.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the YMCA will:
• adopt a non-discrimination policy;
• develop a sample diabetes medical management plan;
• remove unnecessary inquiries from its application materials that tend to screen out individuals with disabilities;
• train its staff on the ADA and diabetes management;
• provide information for parents on how to request modifications for children with disabilities;
•designate an ADA compliance officer who will monitor compliance with the agreement and review requests for reasonable modifications, among other duties; and
• report annually to the United States on its compliance.
ADA enforcement is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Those interested in finding out more about this settlement or the obligations of camps and child care programs under the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov. ADA complaints may be filed online at http://www.ada.gov/complaint/.