Information for Child Care Providers on the Americans with Disabilities Act:
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law. The ADA says that people with disabilities are entitled to equal rights in employment, public services, and access to public accommodations. The act was created to remove barriers that often limit basic opportunities and choices.
Does the ADA apply to me as a child care provider?
Yes, public accommodations include family child care homes, preschools, child care centers, and group homes. If you provide child care as a business in a home or center you cannot refuse to serve a child just because he or she has a disability. The ADA says you must make reasonable accommodations to serve children with disabilities. Reasonable accommodation means adaptations that are not excessively expensive and that do not cause you to make fundamental changes in your setting or program.
How can I make sure I comply with the ADA?
Take time to talk to parents who call about child care for a child with special needs. Discuss how you could meet the child's needs, and find out if the child requires adaptations or accommodations.
Make your decision whether or not you are able to serve a child on an individual basis. If you are not sure that you can safely or appropriately care for a child, decide only after talking with parents about their child's specific needs. It may also be helpful to speak to someone who has expertise in the child's disabilities. Parents may be able to direct you to a professional who can help with this.
Evaluate your policies and procedures. Make sure they don't screen out children with disabilities.
Be ready to make simple changes in activities that allow all children to participate.
Do not have higher rate that applies just to children with disabilities.
Be sure to ask parents about the information and support that they or professionals that work with the child may be able to offer.
How can I get more information on the ADA?
Information about the ADA and child care is available from the Northwest ADA/Information Technology Center at Oregon Health Science University. The Center can be reached at 1-800-949-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Center's website is found at www.nwada.org. You may be eligible for tax deductions if you make accommodations to increase your program's accessibility.
The Inclusive Child Care Program can provide additional information on child care for children with special needs. Contact the program at 1-800-342-6712 or, email@example.com.