Most child care centers and family day care homes are public accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and must provide equal opportunity for children, parents and others with disabilities to participate in programs and services.
A parent or child may not be excluded solely on the basis of disability. Programs and Protections Some of the ways child care programs are required to ensure equal access include: eliminating or modifying eligibility criteria which discriminate simply on the basis of disability; removing physical barriers; making reasonable modifications in policies, practices or procedures; and providing auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication. Higher insurance premiums for the child care program is not a valid reason for denying the enrollment of a child with a disability.
Support is available for centers and professionals working with children with special needs:
- Strong Start DC Early Intervention Program (DC EIP) serves as the single point of entry for District families concerned about their child’s development. Strong Start is a city-wide, comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary system that provides early intervention therapies and services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays and their families.
- Early Stages is a DC Public Schools (DCPS) assessment center for children between the ages of 2 years 8 months and 5 years 10 months. They help identify any developmental delays that your child may have and will arrange services to address them. The center can serve any child who goes to a DC public school, is home-schooled or has not yet entered the school system.