WASHINGTON — A local day care has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve an allegation that it discriminated against a child with diabetes.
Lil’ Einstein’s Learning Academy will pay the child’s family $25,000 and will also pay $2,500 in fines, the DOJ announced Monday. It also agreed to train staff members to assist with routine diabetes care and to evaluate requests for reasonable modifications on an individualized basis, using objective evidence and current medical standards.
“No child with a disability should be unlawfully denied access to a child care center on the basis of his or her disability,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a prepared statement. “Simply put, no parent should have to worry that his or her child will be discriminated against in this way.”
Lil’ Einstein’s offers day care, preschool and before/after care programs at locations in Elkton, Chesapeake City, Newark, Del., and Bear, Del. Federal officials did not disclose the specific location at which the discrimination occurred.
The complaint involved a 16-month-old girl who attended the day care for 10 months and then was kicked out after being diagnosed with Type I diabetes, DOJ spokeswoman Kimberlynn Reeves said.
The child’s parents requested that Lil’ Einstein’s staff provide routine diabetes care, including supervising her continuous glucose monitor and administering insulin through her insulin pump. The staff refused and would not permit the girl’s personal, licensed nurse to accompany her at the day care to provide the needed diabetes care, Reeves said.
Ultimately, Lil’ Einstein’s disenrolled the girl “on the basis of her disability,” she added.
The girl’s parents had to find a new day care for her, which caused them “great stress,” Reeves said.
Lil’ Einstein’s actions were a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations, including child care providers, Reeves said.
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.
“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,” United States Attorney David C. Weiss for the District of Delaware said in a prepared statement.