Youth Services Law

Showing 5 posts from March 2019.

Accommodating Children with Physical Disabilities

Group of children at a school table with wheelchair accommodation.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Sec. 504 prohibit discrimination against a child with a physical or mental impairment that “limits one or more major life activities.” In general, a facility must make “reasonable modifications” to its programs to accommodate a child’s disability. There are three important exceptions, namely that a program (1) can exclude children who pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, (2) need not make accommodations that would fundamentally alter the program, and (3) need not take steps that place an undue burden on the program.

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Accommodating Children with Mental Health Disabilities

Frustrated baby girl

One thing that struck me about the recent college admissions scandal is the way that the parents abused disability laws to get more time for standardized tests or a specific test center for their children. Most mental health professionals are people of integrity, but many mental health diagnoses depend entirely on subjective criteria. It is hard for honest patients and professionals alike to know what diagnosis is the correct one, much less what accommodations actually will help a patient. It also is difficult to know when accommodation of a child’s psychological disability requires giving him or her a pass and when it requires encouraging the child to push their limitations.

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Accommodating Children with Disabilities: Overview

Student with disability coloring at school

One vexing area for youth organizations is how to accommodate children with disabilities. It can be a complicated question, such as when a child’s disability harms other children or simply cannot be accommodated without completely changing your program. Even programs with the best intentions must balance and care for the needs of all of the children in the program.

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Responding to Suicidal Students

Counselor responding to depressed teen

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teenagers, and depression and anxiety in that age group have skyrocketed. Any group that works with older children and teenagers is likely to encounter a client who expresses suicidal thoughts. The good news is that there are many resources that will help you respond.

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Child Protection Policies: Reports and Response

Minor reporting possible abuse to supervisor

Once you have established your policies, you must make certain that you know of any violations of the policy, and that you respond appropriately to those reports. Even the best policy is useless if you cannot enforce it. Reporting and responding to violations are an essential part of any good child protection policy.

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