Abuse & Neglect
Disability Rights Iowa pledges to keep Iowans with disabilities safe from abuse and neglect in their homes, communities, and facilities. We achieve this through:
- Investigating abuse and neglect in facilities
- Monitoring facilities concerning the rights and safety of residents
- Investigating abuse and neglect in home and community-based settings
Iowans with disabilities deserve access to all services and public places across the state. DRI will support accessibility for the disability community by:
- Enforcing the rights of individuals with disabilities to equal access to state and local government services, programs, and activities
- Enforcing the rights of individuals with disabilities in places of public accommodation
Assistive technology significantly improves functioning in the disability community. DRI assists adults and children with disabilities in acquiring life-improving technology in their schools, homes, workplaces, facilities, and communities.
All Iowans with disabilities have the right to live in the most integrated setting possible within their communities. Our goal is to assist Iowans in the disability community with placement and transition into community living locations by:
- Providing more options for adults who seek to live in the community rather than facilities and successfully transition them into the community.
- Ensure that adults who are on home and community-based service waivers live in settings where services are received 24 hours a day have full access to the community.
Education is critical to the minds of young people within the disability community. Disability Rights Iowa is committed to protecting the rights of students with disabilities and eliminating discriminatory practices in educational facilities by:
- Keeping students with challenging behaviors in school all day and assisting them in making adequate curriculum progress
- Implementing transition plans that will enable individuals with disabilities to prepare for post-secondary education and work.
- Ensuring the right of English language learners (ELL) and their families to receive information about and meaningfully participate in special education placement, education, and services, in their home language
- Protecting the rights of students whose special education support and services were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic
Iowans with disabilities should not encounter barriers when entering the workforce. We assist those seeking employment by challenging discrimination and securing the workplace accommodations they require. We accomplish this by focusing on:
- Assisting individuals who want to move from sheltered work to competitive integrated jobs
- Stopping employment discrimination because of a disability and removing barriers to work
- Providing planning and assistance to Social Security beneficiaries who want to return to work but are fearful of losing essential supports
People with disabilities are at disproportionate risk of restricted control and decision-making over their own lives due to court rulings or family members stripping them of their rights. DRI gives these individuals a chance to be heard by
- Reducing the number of Iowans with unnecessary or overly restrictive substitute decision-makers
- Preventing the exploitation of Social Security beneficiaries by representative payees
It’s critical for adults and children with disabilities and mental illnesses to receive consistent treatments, services, and support for their needs. DRI protects access to long-term services and supports by:
- Protecting the rights of Medicaid waiver recipients receiving home and community-based services
- Improving access to mental and behavioral health services for children
Iowans with disabilities are frequently denied equal access to public housing or reasonable accommodations. DRI enforces the rights of individuals who are denied equal access and opportunity to gain the freedom of fair and equal housing.
The use of restraint and seclusion is harmful to youth and often overused in juvenile facilities. We believe in improving the lives of youth adjudicated delinquents by:
- Reducing the use of restraint and seclusion in out-of-home placements for adjudicated youth
- Continuing DRI’s class action litigation efforts to ensure the reduction of restraint and seclusion and the provision of mental health care for boys residing at the Boys State Training School.
Prisons & Jails
Individuals with disabilities in the criminal justice system are vulnerable to excessive use of force, denial of access to necessary treatment, and housing in long-term segregation. DRI protects the rights of incarcerated Iowans with disabilities by:
- Reducing abuse and neglect of inmates with mental illness, developmental disabilities, or traumatic brain injuries in prisons and county jails
- Increasing the number of reasonable accommodations or modifications of policies and procedures for inmates with disabilities in prisons and county jails
Iowans with disabilities represent 11.7% of the civilian, noninstitutionalized population. We help their voices be heard by assisting the disability community in accessing voting options in elections by:
- Increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities in elections
- Eliminating inaccessible residential caucus sites and ensuring that reasonable accommodations are provided to caucus participants with disabilities at all caucus sites
Disability Rights Iowa does not currently take on cases on the issues listed below:
Regardless of the individual’s disability or his/her initial eligibility, DRI will not accept cases, but will only provide information and referral services, when the following issues are presented:
- Divorce, child custody, and adoption
- Estate planning (wills and trusts)
- Criminal representation or Civil mental health commitment including appeals
- Representing parents with respect to termination of parental rights
- Establishing that a Child is in Need of Assistance
- Tax law, corporate or business law, consumer law, debtor-creditor law
- Personal injury (other than injuries arising from abuse and neglect)
- Social security eligibility or appeals
- Worker’s compensation cases
- Civil litigation that does not relate to the legal or civil rights of an individual with a disability
- Initiation of guardianship or conservatorship of a person; and
- Cases involving inmates at county or state correctional facilities (other than injuries arising from abuse and neglect, restraint/seclusion issues or failure to provide reasonable accommodations).
We want to hear your voice!
We seek to reflect the community’s needs by encouraging individuals to suggest new areas of focus as needed. Our priority is to help Iowans with disabilities where they need it most. If you have a suggestion, please fill out our form.
Reach out to DRI if you have an issue that falls within our areas of focus.
Want to learn more?
DRI provides an extensive resource center so you can learn more about your rights.