Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with Camelot Child Development Center of Oklahoma City and Edmond, Okla., under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The settlement resolves allegations that Camelot violated the ADA by prohibiting a child with Down syndrome from field trips, and threatening to expel her, because of her developmental delays. Because the child is not fully toilet-trained, she wears pull-up diapers and requires help with toileting. Camelot provides toileting assistance to younger children, but Camelot refused to provide such assistance to the child with Down syndrome during field trips. As a result, the child could not join in these outings with the other children. In addition, at one point, Camelot threatened to expel the child because of her need for toileting assistance.
Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in child care centers. Under the ADA, child care centers 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. Personal services, such as diapering or toileting assistance, may be required for children who need it due to a disability, regardless of age, when such personal services are provided to other children.
Camelot worked cooperatively with the Justice Department throughout the investigation to change its policies to ensure the center will treat children with disabilities fairly and equally. Under the agreement, Camelot will also pay $3,000 to the family and provide one full year of child care services free of charge to compensate the child and the mother for the harm they have endured as a result of Camelot’s actions. In addition, Camelot will train its staff on the ADA and develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy. The department will monitor Camelot’s compliance for three years.
“Equal access to school and after-school programs is essential to children and parents across the country,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “School and after-school programs allow children with disabilities to learn and play with their peers and develop important social skills. The Civil Rights Division takes disability discrimination in child care settings very seriously and will not allow the exclusion of children with developmental delays.”
“Children are our most valuable resource and must be afforded equal opportunities to grow, learn, and develop,” said U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats. “The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that a child with a disability has the same access to those opportunities as a child who is not disabled.”
The enforcement of the ADA is a top priority of the department’s Civil Rights Division. Those interested in finding out more about this settlement or the obligations of child care centers 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 by email to email@example.com .