EAST BRUNSWICK — A day care in this township will pay thousands of dollars to a parent and change its policies after federal officials determined that the facility discriminated against a child who they believed may have been exposed to hepatitis or HIV.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey, when the parent sought to enroll a child at the Children's Choice Academy on West Ferris Street, the parent disclosed that the child may have been exposed to hepatitis C at birth. Because of the child's age, a conclusive diagnosis could not be done, officials said.

Federal investigators said that the day care officials remembered the parent telling them that the child might also have been exposed to hepatitis B as well as HIV.

Federal law under Americans with Disabilities Act, however, prohibits discrimination against people with hepatitis or HIV.

The law requires that a facility make an individual assessment to determine whether the child posed a direct threat to the health and safety of others that could not be addressed with reasonable modifications of the facility's practices.

Federal officials said that the facility failed to make that assessment and simply turned down the parent's application.

The facility agreed to pay the parent $5,000 and to implement policies that ensure no further discrimination.
The facility will have to publish its anti-discrimination policy on its website.

The facility will also have to provide all its employees with mandatory training on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The day care facility serves about 70 children.

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.