About the ADA

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.  

The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush and consists of five titles:

29 C.F.R. Part 1630

Title I strives to ensure that people with disabilities have the same employment opportunities and benefits available to people without disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees. A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable an applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or perform essential job functions.

Get more information on the Employment (Title I) provisions:

28 C.F.R. Part 35

Title II prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals in all programs, activities, and services of public entities. Public entities (DCYF) are required to make all their programs, services, and activities accessible for individuals with disabilities (Program Accessibility).  In doing so, public entities must make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination.  Public entities also need to identify architectural barriers and ensure that communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communication with others by providing auxiliary aids and services.

Achieving program accessibility means a lot of different things.  The key thing to acknowledge is that there is no "one size fits all" approach.  Each situation requires independent evaluation to ensure that DCYF's programs, services, and activities are accessible for a particular individual with a disability.

Get more information on ADA Title II:

U.S. Department of Justice - ADA Information and Technical Assistance

ADA National Network: information, Guidance, and Training on the ADA

At times staff must make reasonable modifications to policies, procedures, or activities, so no disability discrimination occurs.  Common reasonable modifications include allowing an individual with a disability who uses a services animal to access an area that typically does not allow animals.  Another example is that a child welfare agency may provide a course on parenting skills that is offered weekly. A parent with an intellectual disability may learn skills through repetition, and a class that meets once a week may not be sufficient to meet their learning needs.  As a result, an agency could modify the training to include multiple classes over a longer period of time to meet this parent's need (People with Disabilities in Child Welfare Agencies and Courts).

To request a reasonable modification to a policy, procedure, or activity please contact either a DCYF staff member or DCYF’s ADA Coordinator at dcyf.adaaccessibility@dcyf.wa.gov or (360) 480-7230. Relay users dial 7-1-1.

DCYF staff must provide auxiliary aids and services to ensure communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.  Some common auxiliary aids and services include:

  • Sign Language Interpretation,
  • providing materials in alternate formats, such as Braille,
  • readers/notetakers,
  • open and closed captioning,
  • providing computer-assisted real-time transcription (CART),
  • Video Remote Interpreting (V.R.I.)

Individuals whose primary language is ASL should contact their case worker to ensure that all meetings and appointments have the appropriate sign language interpreters present.  If an individual would benefit from additional communication support, such as a Deaf Interpreter, please inform DCYF staff of need.  DCYF has an internal process for staff to request sign language interpretation, providing as much notice as possible of the need for a sign language interpreter will help DCYF ability to obtain the needed sign language interpreters.

If other auxiliary aids or services (alternate formats) are needed, individuals needing the aid or service should notify their case worker as soon as possible of need, or contact the ADA Accessibility Program at dcyf.adaaccessibility@dcyf.wa.gov to make the request.

DCYF must ensure that its facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities so they can participate in DCYF's programs, services, and activities. This does not require that every site that houses a DCYF program, service, or activity be accessible, though that may be preferred. Instead, suppose a parent or guardian who uses a wheelchair has court-ordered supervised visits with their child. In that case, DCYF must provide a wheelchair-accessible visitation area, and it is upon DCYF and its contractors to ensure that such a site is located.

If you are an individual requiring physical accessibility and encounter an inaccessible feature at or on DCYF property, please notify a DCYF staff person or email DCYF's A.D.A. Accessibility Program at dcyf.adaaccessibility@dcyf.wa.gov with the nature of the concern.

Individuals with a disability who believe they are being discriminated against because of their disability by DCYF staff, can email DCYF’s ADA Coordinator at dcyf.adaaccessibility@dcyf.wa.gov or file an official grievance with DCYF's ADA Coordinator.  Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against do not have to file a complaint with DCYF. Individuals with disabilities always have a right to file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Justice's Disability Rights Section.

28 C.F.R. Part 36

Title III of the ADA prohibits places of public accommodation from discriminating against individuals with disabilities.  A place of public accommodation includes privately owned, leased, or operated facilities like restaurants, hotels, retail merchants, doctor's offices, golf courses, private schools, daycare centers, health clubs, movie theaters, sports stadiums, and so on.  Title III sets minimum standards for accessibility in alterations and new construction.  Places of public accommodations are required to remove barriers to existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense.  Places of public accommodation or businesses also have to make reasonable modifications to their usual way of doing things when serving people with disabilities.  Businesses must ensure that they effectively communicate with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities.

DCYF needs to ensure that when it contracts with other (title III) entities (non-profits, businesses), those contractors do not discriminate against people with disabilities.

Get more information on ADA Title III:

U.S. Department of Justice - ADA Information and Technical Assistance

ADA National Network: information, Guidance, and Training on the ADA

Title IV of the ADA requires telephone and Internet companies to provide a nationwide system of interstate and intrastate telecommunications relay services that allows individuals with hearing and speech disabilities to communicate over the telephone. This title also requires closed captioning on federally funded public service announcements.

Telecommunication Relay services is also known as Washington Relay.  Calls can be made to anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restriction on the number, length, or type of calls. All calls are confidential; no recordings are kept.

A variety of types of relay services exist for D/deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and speech disabled. Visit Washington’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Telecommunication Relay Services to learn more.

Telecommunication Equipment Distribution

Washington’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) distributes telecommunication equipment that enables Washington residents to have independent use of the telephone. 

To learn more about the types of equipment available and apply to receive services, visit ODHH’s Telecommunication Equipment Distribution website.