U.S Attorney’s Office Notifies Summer Camps of Requirements to Accommodate Children with Disabilities
As summer camps prepare to open, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz reminded camps across Massachusetts of their obligation to make their facilities and programs accessible to all children, including those with disabilities. Summer camps, like other places of public accommodation, are required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to make reasonable accommodations for children with disabilities.
“Summer camps provide valuable opportunities for children to grow more independent, build confidence, develop leadership qualities, practice positive risk taking, and foster lifelong skills,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “The law requires camps to provide equal opportunities to disabled children whose needs can be reasonably accommodated. As we mark the 25th anniversary of the ADA, upholding its standards in all environments is a priority of the Department of Justice.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office seeks to help ensure that children with disabilities receive an equal opportunity to attend and enjoy the offerings at summer camps. To aid this effort, the attached flyer was recently distributed to hundreds of Massachusetts summer camps reminding them of their obligations under the ADA enacted in 1990.
Under the ADA, summer camps, both private and those run by municipalities, must make reasonable modifications to enable campers with disabilities to participate fully in all camp programs and activities. This generally means that children with disabilities are entitled to attend any camp or activity that non-disabled children attend, that camps must evaluate each child on an individual basis, and that camps must train their staff in the requirements of the ADA. Camps are obligated to pay for the cost of any reasonable modifications necessary for disabled children to participate in camp activities, and parents should not be charged any additional fee beyond standard camp enrollment costs.
In 2010, to coordinate the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in enforcing federal civil rights laws, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz formed the Civil Rights Enforcement Team (CRET) which is composed of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and professional staff from the criminal and civil divisions of the office. The primary goals of the CRET is to develop a comprehensive enforcement strategy to address civil rights issues that arise in the District of Massachusetts; to uphold the constitutional rights of all residents, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of society; and to enforce federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status, and national origin.
Additional information about the ADA is available at www.ADA.gov, or through contacting the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (617) 748-3100.