Ahead of the busy summer season, the Arlington-Mansfield area YMCA has revamped its internal procedures after a settlement with the Justice Department to resolve allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The concern from the Justice Department was that a child with diabetes was denied the opportunity to participate in a summer camp because the YMCA refused to provide his daily insulin injections, according to a news release.
In response to the settlement, the Arlington-Mansfield area YMCA has taken four specific steps to prevent future concerns, according to the organization’s President.
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The YMCA created a new ADA compliance officer position, who will be responsible for ensuring the organization is doing its best to adapt to the requests of people who want to participate, according to president Arlington-Mansfield area YMCA and CEO Roberto Aguirre.
The YMCA also mandated new training for its employees and instituted an internal process for how special requests will be handled quickly, Aguirre said.
Lastly, the YMCA updated its registration process to be in line with ADA standards.
“The YMCA is for everybody. It’s part of our mission and we stand by it,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre emphasized his organization was not found guilty of any wrongdoing, but that it believes the settlement with the Justice Department is fair to the family of the child in question and to other families of children who require special accommodations.
“Ultimately [the changes] have actually helped us improve how we provide services to the community,” Aguirre told NBC DFW. “So the entire process, although it was a little lengthy, had some positive results at the end.”
The complaint originated in 2012 when a parent requested a modification to the day camp program – for a staff member to administer daily insulin to her son.
The YMCA did not provide a solution in a timely manner, according to Aguirre, and as a result the child could not participate in the summer program.
The parent, with the help of Disability Rights Texas, filed a complaint with the Justice Department, and the ensuing investigation lead to the settlement agreement in February.
“Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by private camps and child care programs,” the Justice Department noted in its statement. “Under the ADA, such entities must make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices or procedures when necessary to provide equal access to a child with a disability, unless a modification would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods and services.”
“Every case is an individual case, so we take it case-by-case. Some children need more care,” Aguirre said when asked about the kinds of accommodations his organization must make in order to accommodate as many children as possible. “We talk to parents, we look at what it is they are, what the child may need. And we do what we can, within our means, to make reasonable modifications to make sure the child has a great experience at the day camps at the YMCA.”