ADA Settlement with KinderCare Ensures Access to Child Care Programs for Children with Diabetes
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that KinderCare Education LLC (“KinderCare”) of Portland, Oregon, has entered into a settlement agreement with the government to resolve allegations that KinderCare’s child care programs and other services were not accessible to children with Type 1 diabetes who are dependent on insulin injections, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).
KinderCare currently operates approximately 1,800 facilities in the U.S., and the settlement agreement applies to all of KinderCare’s facilities.
The matter was initiated by a complaint filed with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut by Connecticut’s Center for Children’s Advocacy (CCA) alleging violations of Title III of the ADA. Specifically, the complaint alleges that KinderCare refused to assist two children who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes with insulin administration. A third complaint against KinderCare by the parent of another child with Type 1 diabetes was filed by CCA during the course of the investigation. The government determined that KinderCare’s national policy and practice was that KinderCare staff would not directly administer insulin to children via a syringe or pen. Instead, KinderCare required parents of the children identified in the complaint to appear at its facility to administer the insulin to their children or hire another person, at the parents’ own expense, to do so.
Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation. KinderCare is a private entity that operates child care facilities that are places of “public accommodation” within the meaning of Title III of the ADA.
The settlement agreement resolves complaints that KinderCare was discriminating against three children with insulin dependent diabetes, on the basis of disability, by failing to make certain reasonable modifications for those children. Under the agreement, KinderCare is obligated to take critical steps toward improving access for children with Type 1 diabetes, including revising its policies and procedures, revising its training, and performing initial and ongoing assessments of the need for reasonable accommodations. KinderCare must evaluate each request on an individualized basis, relying on objective evidence and current medical standards.
KinderCare has agreed that “where a parent or guardian and a child’s physician or other qualified health care professional deem it appropriate … for a child to be assisted in diabetes care by a layperson, training child care staff members to assist with routine diabetes care tasks, including the administration of insulin by pen, syringe, or pump, is generally a reasonable modification under the ADA, unless KinderCare can demonstrate that the individual circumstances cause a fundamental alteration,” as defined under the ADA.
KinderCare also has agreed to pay $8,000 to each of the three Complainants to resolve this matter.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and aggressively enforce violations of the Americas with Disabilities Act, especially violations that affect children and other vulnerable residents of Connecticut,” said U.S. Attorney Durham. “Parents rely on dependable childcare in order to work or go to school, and every child should have equal access to childcare and educational facilities. I thank KinderCare’s management for their cooperation during this investigation and for addressing these ADA issues without the need for litigation. Their actions will ensure that children with Type 1 diabetes can enjoy the same benefits that other children enjoy, while giving their parents the confidence that staff will be trained to ensure that their children are well cared for.”
The agreement is effective for three years, during which time the U.S. Attorney’s Office will monitor KinderCare’s compliance.
A copy of the settlement agreement may be found here.
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery.
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in Connecticut is not accessible to persons with disabilities may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 203-821-3700.
Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Justice Department’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TTY). More information about the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.