The Department of Justice today released new technical assistance materials to help state and local governments comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The materials are part of the “ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments,” a project announced by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in October 2006.
“In our work with state and local governments throughout the country, we see many common problems with ADA compliance,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department is issuing the Tool Kit to help state and local government officials gain a better understanding of how to ensure equal access to government programs and services for all of their citizens with a disability.”
The Tool Kit is a commonsense guide to achieving ADA compliance. Chapters 3 and 4 of the Tool Kit, released today, address the ADA requirement of ensuring effective communications for people with disabilities. “People who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who are blind or have low vision, and individuals with other types of disabilities are entitled to equal access to state and local government programs, services and activities,” added Assistant Attorney General Kim. “These new chapters of the Tool Kit contain practical guidance, including checklists and action steps, that state, county and city officials can use to identify and resolve ADA compliance issues in government agencies and programs across the country, including public hospitals, courts, law enforcement agencies, 9-1-1 emergency communication systems, and recreation programs.”
During the past six years, through its Project Civic Access initiative, the Civil Rights Division has worked cooperatively with city and county officials to improve access for more than 2 million people with disabilities. The Department has reached 152 agreements that improve access for people with disabilities to city and county office buildings, courts, polling places, emergency shelters, museums, parks, law enforcement and corrections facilities, and websites.