ADA in the News April 4, 2022

Settlement Agreement Reached with Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families to Address Discrimination Against Parents with Disabilities

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island and the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) has agreed to resolve alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. DCYF is a state agency responsible for child welfare services, juvenile corrections, and children’s behavioral health services.

The investigation was opened after the U.S. Attorney’s Office and HHS received multiple complaints from parents with disabilities. Three complaints alleged that DCYF failed to provide sign language interpreter services to parents who are deaf during DCYF child protection investigations, including when DCYF removed their children from their homes. A fourth complaint alleged that DCYF based conclusions about the parental capacity on a parent’s disabilities (epilepsy and intellectual disabilities) and failed to provide reasonable modifications to the parent’s plan.


Justice Department Reinforces Federal Nondiscrimination Obligations in Letter to State Officials Regarding Transgender Youth

The Justice Department announced today that it issued a letter to all state attorneys general reminding them of federal constitutional and statutory provisions that protect transgender youth against discrimination, including when those youth seek gender-affirming care.

The letter advises states that laws and policies that prevent individuals from receiving gender-affirming medical care may infringe on federal constitutional protections under the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The letter also discusses federal statutes that impose nondiscrimination obligations, including Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


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