This week we continue our celebration of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by taking a quick look at Title II: State and Local Governments. This title, which is regulated and enforced by the US Department of Justice, covers nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in state and local government services.
Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities, and services of public entities. It applies to all state and local governments, their departments and agencies, and any other instrumentalities or special purpose districts of state or local governments… This title outlines the administrative processes to be followed, including requirements for self-evaluation and planning; requirements for making reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination; architectural barriers to be identified; and the need for effective communication with people with hearing, vision and speech disabilities.ADA National Network: What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
If you run a state or municipal agency or program, how can you make sure people with disabilities in your community can access your services, programs, or websites? If you handle emergence management and preparedness for your community, how can you ensure your plans are inclusive of your residents with disabilities? If you are a person with a disability, how can you advocate for accessible infrastructure or inclusive programming? Here are a few tools from NIDILRR-funded projects and other agencies and organizations to get you started.
ADA Title II Action Guide for State and Local Governments. If you work in state or local government, you may be responsible for ensuring people with disabilities have equal access to programs, services, and civil life in your community. Where do you start? This guide from the New England ADA Regional Center takes you through clear action steps to be compliant with Title II: start implementation, appoint an ADA coordinator, provide public notice, adopt a grievance procedure, conduct a self-evaluation, develop a transition plan, and create an action plan. The guide includes quizzes, best practices, self-evaluation forms, and sample documents.
ADA National Network Webinar Series: Emergency Management and Preparedness – Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. The Pacific ADA Regional Center runs regularly scheduled webinars on a wide range of inclusive preparedness topics, many of which include lessons learned from communities that have experienced natural and man-made disasters. The webinars are free and are archived for on-demand viewing.
How to File an ADA Complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ). If you believe you have been discriminated against in accessing government services in your state or community, you can file a complaint with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. This guide takes you through the basics, including where and how to file, tracking the status of your complaint, and what mediation means.
Explore Research on Title II from the NIDILRR Community
- In 2018, the New England ADA Regional Center conducted a survey of cities and towns in New England to identify and understand challenges to implementing Title II. The study found that, overall, only 7% of municipalities are in full compliance, and those out of compliance often lack self-evaluation and transition plans. Read the New England ADA Center’s report (PDF).
- In 2019, the Rocky Mountain ADA Regional Center held focus groups with members of law enforcement in the Rocky Mountain Region to learn about their experiences in serving people with disabilities and how to improve those interactions. Learn more in our Research In Focus article Law Enforcement Personnel Comment on Ways to Better Serve People with Disabilities.
- A 2019 study from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Integration and Participation of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities found that parents with psychiatric disabilities may face more scrutiny from Child Protective Services (CPS) than parents without these disabilities, as described in our Research In Focus article. A 2012 study from the National Council on Disability found that parents with disabilities in general are at higher risk of being referred to CPS. This may be due to the misperception that people with disabilities cannot care for their children. Both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act require state and local agencies like CPS and family courts to have policies and procedures to prevent discrimination against parents with disabilities in the child welfare system. This factsheet from the ADA National Network may help parents and advocates understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws.
The ADA National Network has ten regional centers across the US to help state and local governments and their constituents understand their rights and responsibilities under Title II. Find your regional center online or call 800/949-4ADA (4232) to be connected to the center serving your community.