The Justice Department entered into two settlement agreements today to resolve allegations that two child care providers violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to reasonably modify its program to accommodate the needs of young children with Type 1 diabetes and disenrolling them on the basis of their disabilities. One agreement is with Lil’ Einstein’s Learning Academy, which operates child care facilities in Bear and Newark, Delaware and Chesapeake City and Elkton, Maryland. The second agreement is with the Community First School Corporation, which operates a child care facility in Sunnyvale, California. These settlements resolve allegations that two child care centers discriminated against children and their parents on the basis of their children’s disabilities shortly after each child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“No child with a disability should be unlawfully denied access to a child care center on the basis of his or her disability. Simply put, no parent should have to worry that his or her child will be discriminated against in this way,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “These agreements reflect the Department’s continued commitment to ensuring that children with disabilities enjoy equal access to child care services.”
“Given the critical role that dependable child care plays in a parent’s ability to work or go to school, we are proud that this settlement will ease the struggle to find quality child care for families of children with disabilities,” said United States Attorney David C. Weiss for the District of Delaware.
“Parents who rely on child care need to know that their children will receive the care and support they need—particularly when their children have disabilities,” said United States Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California. “Child care providers need to meet their responsibilities to these kids and comply with the ADA. We appreciate the efforts of the Civil Rights Division working with our office to address these issues in our district.”
The complaint underlying the Lil’ Einstein’s Learning Academy matter alleged that a 16-month old child, who had been enrolled in the program since she was six months old, was disenrolled on the basis of her disability. Upon their daughter’s diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes, the child’s parents requested that Lil’ Einstein’s Learning Academy staff provide routine diabetes care, including supervision of her continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and insulin administration through her insulin pump. The complaint further alleged that Lil’ Einstein’s Learning Academy refused to administer insulin to their daughter through the pump, refused to permit their daughter’s personal, licensed nurse to accompany her at the day care to provide the needed diabetes care, and disenrolled their daughter on the basis of her disability.
Similarly, the complaint underlying the Community First School agreement alleged that the child care center discriminated against a child – then two years-old – and her parents on the basis of her disability. The toddler began attending Community First School before she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Upon her diagnosis, she was prescribed a CGM that provided electronic blood glucose readings on an iPhone application. The CGM comes with a remote device that picks up the CGM readings and then transmits it to any smartphone connected through an app. Her parents requested that Community First staff keep an iPhone or a small remote transmitter provided by the family near their daughter so that her CGM could transmit readings. If the CGM triggered an alarm signifying a low blood glucose level, the parents asked that a staff member provide their daughter juice. The complaint further alleged that Community First School denied the parents’ requests, and the parents had no choice but to disenroll their daughter.
In each case, the parents had to secure new child care settings for their children, resulting in great stress for both sets of parents, who depended upon the providers to properly care for their children while they worked to support their families.
Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations, including child care providers. Under the ADA, child care providers must make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices or procedures when necessary to provide equal access to a child with a disability unless they can demonstrate that such modifications amount to a fundamental alteration to the nature of their services.
Under the agreements, Lil’ Einstein’s Learning Academy agreed to pay $25,000 in compensatory damages to the aggrieved child and her parents and $2,500 in civil penalties, and Community First School agreed to pay $15,000 to the aggrieved child and her parents and $2,500 in civil penalties. Both child care centers also agreed to evaluate each request for reasonable modifications on an individualized basis, using objective evidence and current medical standards, and, where appropriate, to train child care staff members to assist with routine diabetes care tasks, such as monitoring a continuous glucose monitor, administering Glucagon in emergency situations, and administrating insulin by pen, syringe, or pump.
2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Justice Department plays a central role in advancing the nation’s goal of equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. The Justice Department will continue to use its enforcement and technical assistance tools to eliminate unlawful discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
People interested in finding out more about the ADA or these settlement agreements can call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA website at http://www.ada.gov.