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 

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

  • Increasing assistive technology and services for adults and children with disabilities in a variety of settings – at school, home, work, facilities, and in the community.

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

  • Advocate to move individuals from institutions to the community.
  • Monitor home and community-based settings.

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
  • Ensuring the rights of English Language Learners (ELL) and their families to receive information about – and meaningfully participate in – their  or their child’s special education placement, education, and services in their home language.
  • Protecting the rights of students whose special education supports and services were/are disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employment: Remove barriers to employment

  • Assisting individuals who want to use employment services to navigate vocational services
  • Remove barriers to work and stopping employment discrimination because of a disability.
  • Providing planning and assistance to Social Security beneficiaries who want to return to work, but are fearful of losing essential supports.

Guardianship Alternatives: Increase alternatives to full guardianships

  • Reducing the number of Iowans with unnecessary or overly restrictive substitute decision makers

Health care: Protect 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: Ensuring full participation of Iowans with disabilities in the electoral process.

  • Increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities in elections
  • Improve poll worker training to increase poll worker knowledge on the rights of voters with disabilities.