Complete List of Current Areas of Focus

DRI Areas of Focus

Although our areas of focus may change from year to year, we are always dedicated to helping people with disabilities and mental illnesses. 


Abuse and Neglect: Keep Iowans with Disabilities Safe:

  • Investigating abuse and neglect in facilities
  • Monitoring facilities with respect to the rights and safety of residents 
  • Investigating abuse and neglect in home and community-based settings 
  • Monitoring home and community-based settings

Accessibility: Ensure Access to Services and Places

  • Enforcing the right of individuals with disabilities to have equal opportunities to access state and local government services, programs and activities
  • Enforcing the right of individuals with disabilities in places of public accommodation

Assistive Technology: Improve Functioning

  • Assisting students with disabilities in public schools to make progress by having the assistive technology they need, and the training to use it
  • Increasing assistive technology and services for individuals with disabilities in facilities and home and community based settings

Community Living: Protect the rights of Iowans to live in the most integrated setting

  • Increasing the options of adults who want to live in the community rather than facilities to successfully transition to the community
  • Ensuring that adults on home and community-based service waivers who live in settings where services are received 24 hours a day, have full access to the community and, through the person-centered planning process, to live and work in the community, have control over daily life decisions and choose what services they receive and who provides them

Education: Protect the rights of students with disabilities

  • Keeping students with challenging behaviors in school all day and assisting them in making adequate progress in the curriculum
  • Implementing transition plans that will enable individuals with disabilities to live in the community as independently as possible

Employment: Remove barriers to employment

  • Assisting individuals who want to move from sheltered work to competitive integrated jobs
  • Stopping employment discrimination because of a disability and remove barriers to work
  • Providing planning and assistance to Social Security beneficiaries who want to return to work, but not lose their benefits

Guardianship Alternatives: Increase alternatives to full guardianships

  • Reducing the number of Iowans with unnecessary or overly restrictive substitute decision makers
  • Preventing exploitation of Social Security beneficiaries by representative payees

Health care: access to long-term health services and supports

  • Protect the rights of Medicaid waiver recipients receiving home and community-based services
  • Improving Access to Mental and Behavioral Health Services for Children

Housing: Preventing disability-based discrimination

  • Enforcing the rights of people with disabilities to have equal access to housing

Juvenile Justice: Improve the lives of youth adjudicated delinquent

  • 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, as well as the provision of mental health care, for boys residing at the Boys State Training School

Prisons and Jails: Protect the rights of incarcerated Iowans

  • 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

Voting Participation in the electoral process of individuals with disabilities

  • Increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities in elections
  • Eliminating inaccessible residential caucus sites and making sure that reasonable accommodations are provided to caucus participants with disabilities at all caucus sites