U.S. Army Excludes Children with Diabetes from Its Child, Youth and School Services

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July 19, 2016 – Monterey, CA – A lawsuit filed today challenges a nationwide, antiquated U.S. Army policy that prohibits staff in its Child, Youth and School Services (“CYSS”) programs from administering critical medications and providing vital support to children with diabetes in their care.  As long as the policy is in place, children with diabetes cannot participate safely in Army CYSS programs and, as such, are excluded from all daycare services, in-home child care services, programs for students and teens, summer camps, and youth sports programs on military bases throughout the country.  This exclusion of children with diabetes violates the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federal government programs.

The lawsuit is brought by the American Diabetes Association and a child, referred to in the lawsuit as M.W., who is unable to participate in CYSS’s after-school programming at the Presidio of Monterey because of her diabetes.  M.W. was forced to leave her CYSS program after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five.  Because the U.S. Army forbids CYSS staff members from assisting M.W. with blood glucose monitoring and administering insulin, or even providing a rescue medication called glucagon in an emergency, CYSS no longer offers a safe environment for M.W. and she is effectively excluded from the program.  Plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”), a leading national nonprofit legal center.

“The U.S. Army’s policy is discriminatory and completely out of step with current practices relating to caring for children with diabetes,” said Kevin L. Hagan, Chief Executive Officer of the American Diabetes Association.  “Daycares, summer camps, and before- and after-school programs across the country welcome children with diabetes and give them the support they need to participate on an equal basis.  It is especially important that the Army overhaul this policy because so many military families have no alternative to the CYSS care provided on their bases.  CYSS must be a safe place for all children, including those with diabetes.”

Mary-Lee Smith, Director of Litigation at DRA, explained, “This discriminatory policy provides little choice for parents who are effectively forced to pull their children out of the U.S. Army’s high-quality programs or face jeopardizing their lives.  The policy illegally excludes children with diabetes entirely because of a disability, and must come to an immediate end.”

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  A copy of the Complaint is available below and at www.diabetes.org/Armylitigation.

About Disability Rights Advocates (DRA)
Founded in 1993, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is the leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center.  Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide.  DRA represents people with the full spectrum of disabilities in complex, system-change, class action cases.  July 2016 marks the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception.  Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to health care, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing.  For more information, visit www.dralegal.org.

About the American Diabetes Association (ADA)
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes.  The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.  Founded in 1940, the Association’s mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.  For more information, please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit diabetes.org.  Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish.  Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).

Contacts

Rebecca Williford, Disability Rights Advocates, (510) 665-8644