COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CHILD CARE PROGRAMS AND THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
1) Q: Does the Americans with Disabilities Act -- or "ADA" -- apply to child care centers?
A: Yes. Privately-run child care centers -- like other public accommodations such as private schools, recreation centers, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and banks -- must comply with Title III of the ADA. Child care services provided by government agencies, such as Head Start, summer programs, and extended school day programs, must comply with Title II of the ADA. Both titles apply to a child care center's interactions with the children, parents, guardians and potential customers that it serves
2) Q: How do I decide whether a child with a disability belongs in my program?
A: Child care centers cannot just assume that a child's disabilities are too severe for the child to be integrated successfully into the center's child care program. The center must make an individualized assessment about whether it can meet the particular needs of the child without fundamentally altering its program. In making this assessment, the caregiver must not react to unfounded preconceptions or stereotypes about what children with disabilities can or cannot do, or how much assistance they may require. Instead, the caregiver should talk to the parents or guardians and any other professionals (such as educators or health care professionals) who work with the child in other contexts. Providers are often surprised at how simple it is to include children with disabilities in their mainstream programs. Child care centers that are accepting new children are not required to accept children who would pose a direct threat (see question 8) or whose presence or necessary care would fundamentally alter the nature of the child care program
3) Q: My insurance company says it will raise our rates if we accept children with disabilities. Do I still have to admit them into my program?
A: Yes. Higher insurance rates are not a valid reason for excluding children with disabilities from a child care program. The extra cost should be treated as overhead and divided equally among all paying customers
4) Our center is full and we have a waiting list. Do we have to accept children with disabilities? ahead of others?
A: No. Title III does not require providers to take children with disabilities out of turn.
5) Q: We have a "no pets" policy. Do I have to allow a child with a disability to bring a service animal, such as a seeing eye dog?
A: Yes. A service animal is not a pet. The ADA requires you to modify your "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean that you must abandon your "no pets" policy altogether, but simply that you must make an exception to your general rule for service animals.
To learn more? Register today for our Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) classes. Visit our website at www.ChildCareEd.com