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Autism Discrimination Complaint 'at the YMCA' Settled

Posted Sep 12 2008 3:23am

Autistic child, there's no need to feel down.
I said, autistic child, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, autistic child, 'cause you're in a new town
There's no need to be unhappy.
Autistic child, there's a place you can go
Uh, well, now there might me anyway.

(Apologies to the Village People)

The US Department of Justice Press Release which follows provides a brief summary of a discrimination complaint brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act against the West End YMCA in Ontario, California has been settled with payment of compensation and with changes in policies by the YMCA. The complaint was brought after the West End YMCA terminated a child from its after-school child care program, according to the DOJ Press Release, because the child has autism. It is good to see, as the release points out, that the WE YMCA 'cooperated' with the DOJ in arriving at a settlement but it is sad to see that an organization like the YMCA which performs many good works would have such policies in place to begin with. Autism awareness still has a long, long way to go.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with the West End YMCA, headquartered in Ontario, Calif., that resolves an investigation into alleged discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The agreement covers associated YMCA branches in Ontario, Chino, Upland, and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

The underlying complaint filed with the Justice Department alleged that the West End YMCA terminated a child from its after-school child care program because the child has autism. Under the agreement, the West End YMCA will implement policies and procedures to ensure that children with disabilities are afforded a full and equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from YMCA child care programs. Procedures for requesting reasonable modifications to the child care program will be published in the organization's parent handbooks, and YMCA staff involved in child care decisions will be trained on ADA obligations in the child care setting. The West End YMCA also agreed to pay monetary damages to the complainant.

"Ensuring that children with disabilities, and their families, have equal access to reliable child care goes to the heart of the ADA's promises and protections," said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "I commend the West End YMCA for working with us, and I hope that this agreement will be a model for other child care providers."

Under Title III of the ADA, private child care providers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability, and must make reasonable modifications to policies, practices and procedures to afford individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate and benefit from the child care services. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available at Those interested in finding out more about federal disability rights statutes can call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA Web site at

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice -0- 08/06/2007 /CONTACT: The U.S. Department of Justice, +1-202-514-2007, +1-202-514-1888 (TDD)/ /Web site: / CO: U.S. Department of Justice; YMCA ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: POL EXE LAW CHI ZB-ZB -- DCM090 -- 1806 08/06/2007 19:41 EDT

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