Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title III (Title 3) & Child Care Operations – FAQ

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was enacted to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. Public accommodations are private entities that own, lease to, or operate facilities and include child-care operations such as child care centers, licensed child care homes, and registered child care homes.

How does Title III of ADA affect a child-care operation?

Title III covers businesses and nonprofit service providers that are public accommodations, privately operated entities offering certain types of courses and examinations, privately operated transportation, and commercial facilities. A child-care operation, whether home-based or center-based, is considered a place of public accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title III, because it holds itself out to the public as a business.

Shouldn't child-care providers get to choose who they enroll, since it is their business?

By becoming professional caregivers, child-care providers become responsible for complying with many types of laws, such as tax laws and licensing laws-as well as civil rights laws, which in the case of ADA protect people with disabilities from discrimination. Admission policies that tend to screen out persons with a disability are prohibited under Title III. Situations in which care can be refused are very limited. These situations generally include circumstances in which the presence of a child with a disability results in a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of other children, or where the accommodations needed would not be reasonable for the program to provide.

Who enforces ADA laws?

The Department of Justice enforces ADA laws and can help determine whether requested accommodations are reasonable. If you believe that a child day care operation may be practicing discrimination in violation of Title III, you may call the ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-414-0301 (voice) or 1-833-610-1264 (TTY).

How do you determine if a child with a disability belongs in a child-care program?

A child-care provider is required to make a case-by-case assessment of what the child with the disability requires to be fully integrated into the child-care program and then assess whether reasonable accommodations can be made. Although what is "reasonable" will vary depending on the accommodation requested and the resources available to the program, many of the accommodations children need are not complicated and most can be easily learned.

What is a child-care provider's role in helping connect parents with local resources?

Many local communities have identified resources to assist children with special care needs, their families, and caregivers. Below is a list of resources that a child-care provider may find helpful.

Where can I find additional information about American with Disabilities Act, Title III?

For questions, technical assistance, and additional information, contact ADA at or 1-800-514-0301 (voice), 1-833-610-1264 (TTY).

What are some ADA Resources?

2-1-1 Texas

211 Texas connects people with services in their local communities.

The ARC of Texas

The ARC promotes full inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life

Texas Workforce Commission

TWC-CCS supports child care contractors serving children with disabilities.

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension

Agrilife has resources and training for child care providers on inclusion of children with special needs