School’s Almost Out! Don’t Forget about the ADA Regulations that Apply to Summer Camps

Northeast ADA Center Staff April 21, 2016

school's out camp's in

It’s that time of year when parents are thinking about options for their children to keep them busy, entertained and supervised once school is out for the summer. For parents of children with disabilities, it’s important to remember that there are ADA regulations that protect the rights of children with disabilities in childcare settings, including summer camp programs. Specifically, the ADA prohibits a public accommodation (like a summer camp program) from discriminating against an individual on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods and services. Specifically, the ADA prohibits a public accommodation from denying the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of an entity to: (1) an individual on the basis of disability and (2) an individual because of their relationship or association with an individual with a disability. Failure to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when such modifications are necessary to afford goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities is also discriminatory unless the modifications would constitute a fundamental alteration.   Recently a settlement agreement was reached between the Arlington-Mansfield Texas Area YMCA and the U.S. Department of Justice that highlights the ADA regulations that apply in camp settings.  In this matter, the YMCA denied a parent’s six year-old son admission to a summer day camp program on the basis of his disability, by failing to make reasonable modifications, in violation of title III of the ADA. Specifically, the parent in this case alleged that her son was denied admission and the opportunity to participate in the summer day camp program on the basis of his type 1 diabetes.  The parent in this case also alleged that Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA's enrollment materials screen out or tend to screen out children with disabilities.  The camp offered to monitor the child and track the child's blood glucose levels and food consumption, but advised that it would not be able to provide insulin injections. The parents shared information from the American Diabetes Association about this issue with the camp management and also emailed the Director of Childcare links to several settlement agreements between the United States and other childcare providers about diabetes care in childcare settings, but the camp did not agree to provide the insulin injections until summer camp was almost over.  Ultimately, the settlement agreement lays out several actions that the YMCA will take, including designating an ADA Compliance Officer and modifying their policies and procedures. Adopted policies will include (among other items): a nondiscrimination policy that states that Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA does not discriminate in the provision of services to persons with disabilities;  adoption of a sample Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) that is modeled after the National Diabetes Education Program's Sample Diabetes Medical Management Plan and inclusion of the sample DMMP on Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA's website and in the parent/guardian handbook; Information for parents or guardians of children with disabilities, explaining how to request modifications to Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA's policies, practices, and procedures with respect to childcare services; and modifications to the Summer Camp Enrollment Form by removing unnecessary inquiries that screen out or tend to screen out individuals with disabilities.   To read more about this settlement, you can visit this link: http://www.ada.gov/arlington_ymca.html. If you have questions about the ADA, please feel free to contact the Northeast ADA Center at 800.949.4232 or via email at northeastada@cornell.edu.  

To read about other cases involving summer camps go to these links:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/pr/new-jersey-summer-camps-must-reasonably-accommodate-children-disabilities

https://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/pr/us-attorney-s-office-reaches-settlement-day-camp-ensure-equal-access-disabled-children

http://www.ada.gov/camp_bravo_sa.html

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