FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1995

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

WISCONSIN DAY CARE CENTER AGREES TO BECOME ACCESSIBLE TO CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES Settlement is First of Its Kind with a Child-Care Facility WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A Wisconsin day care center that refused to assist a young girl with cerebral palsy with her leg braces reached an agreement today with the Justice Department to develop a policy which will make its facility more accessible to children with disabilities. The settlement stems from a complaint filed with the Justice Department alleging that the Sunshine Child Center in Gillett discriminated against four year-old Belinda Brock, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In the complaint, the girl's mother, Brenda, claimed that the center's staff said they would not remove and put on Belinda's leg braces. The center, which provides separate services to children aged three and younger and children aged 4 through 12, also allegedly told the mother that Belinda would be kept back with the younger age group because she required diaper changing. Today's settlement resolves the mother's complaint. "Often, simple measures are all that are needed to integrate a child with a disability into society," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. "We must not permit unlawful acts to hold back children with disabilities." Under the settlement the day care center has agreed to: ​ readmit Belinda, who had been removed from the center by her mother; ​ ​ put on and remove braces for Belinda and for any other child with a disability in a similar situation; change the diapers of any child with a disability when needed without segregating the child to an inappropriate age group; ​ ​ remove some architectural barriers that impeded access to its parking area and restrooms; and take steps to ensure that a new facility housing the center, expected to be completed by June 1997, will fully comply with the ADA's guidelines for new construction. The ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. Title III of the ADA requires that private entities, including day care centers, remove barriers to access when it is readily achievable and make reasonable modifications to their policies when necessary to avoid discriminating against

people with disabilities. Today's agreement is the first formal settlement under the ADA between the Justice Department and a private entity in the state of Wisconsin. "Without the ADA, Belinda, and children like her, could face a childhood full of unnecessary hardship," added Patrick. Last year, Attorney General Janet Reno launched a national campaign to educate Americans about their rights and obligations under the ADA. The campaign, which included public service announcements distributed to hundreds of television and radio stations, advertised a toll-free ADA information line. The number is 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383(TDD). # # # 95-603