New Jersey Assembly Democrats:Greenwald, Lampitt & Mosquera "Jake's Law" Bill to Create Inclusive Playgrounds to Better Serve NJ Families with Disabilities Now Law

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Greenwald, Lampitt & Mosquera "Jake's Law" Bill to Create Inclusive Playgrounds to Better Serve NJ Families with Disabilities Now Law

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Lou Greenwald, Pamela Lampitt and Gabriela Mosquera to make playgrounds in New Jersey inclusive and capable of catering to children and parents with different types of disabilities was signed into law Thursday.

"Inclusive playgrounds provide opportunities for play that are not available at most playgrounds for children and adults with disabilities. Many parks, even those that are Americans with Disabilities compliant, do not have proper wheelchair access and equipment suitable for all visitors," said Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington). "This legislation was inspired by a boundless playground in my district, Jake's Place, which was built in honor of a young boy, Jacob Myles Cummings-Nasto, who was born with a rare cardiac condition. I am honored to have been able to work on this legislation with Jake's grandparents, Lynn and Jim Cummings, to ensure all children like Jake have a place to play."

The new law (formerly bill A-2187) would require the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), in consultation with the Department of Education, to create rules and regulations for completely inclusive playgrounds that generally exceed current state and federal standards required by the "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990."

"All children deserve a safe place to play, and inclusive playgrounds and parks provide a recreational space for children with disabilities that are adapted for their needs," said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). "More inclusive parks will provide children with disabilities the ability to play and interact without limitations."

"These parks provide a fun and safe place for children with special needs to play and engage socially," said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). "Building more of these parks not only provides these children with this wonderful opportunity, but can also help educate other children about acceptance and inclusion."
The law now requires the Department of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Department of Education, to promulgate:
  • Rules and regulations for the design, installation, inspection, and maintenance of completely inclusive playgrounds. The regulations would be required to: (1) meet any standard of care imposed by law on playground operators; (2) be those guidelines and criteria which are contained in the Handbook for Public Playground Safety produced by the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission or any successor; and (3) include special provisions for completely inclusive playgrounds appropriate for children within the range of ages in day care settings.
  • Rules and regulations for completely inclusive playgrounds designed with standards that generally exceed those required by the federal "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990" (U.S.C. s.12101 et seq.) and which result in allowing the inclusion of people with disabilities, irrespective of medical condition.
    The bill was approved by the Assembly 73-0 in June.
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