Overview of Disability Rights Iowa
Disability Rights Iowa is part of a national group of agencies created by Congress in the 1970s to address repeated abuse and neglect of people with disabilities in large institutions. We are an independent, non-profit, 501(c)(3) agency funded through grants from the federal government, donations, and corporate or foundation funding. We are not a government agency or service provider. Through federal funding DRI protects and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. DRI advocates for the rights of Iowans with disabilities wherever they may live.
Disability Rights Iowa’s Mission Statement:
Advocating for justice. Advancing human and legal rights. Protecting Iowans with disabilities.
Disability Rights Iowa’s Vision Statement:
Disability Rights Iowa strives for a changed world where people with disabilities are valued and fully included in their communities, their workplaces, and their schools, where they have equitable access to all opportunities and make their own decisions.
Disability Rights Iowa’s Core Values: DRI is committed to protecting the civil and human rights of persons with disabilities through zealous advocacy and representation. The foundation for our work is that Iowans with disabilities deserve to be treated with dignity, kindness, and respect. DRI’s advocacy is governed by the core values noted below. We commit to these beliefs and core values. We will work to make changes so that DRI provides Iowans with disabilities meaningful assistance while understanding and appreciating each individual’s unique experiences and needs.
DRI’s Advocacy efforts are governed by these core values:
- Civil Rights
- Equal Access
What does DRI do? DRI has the authority to investigate complaints of abuse or neglect of individuals with disabilities. DRI also provides legal representation and advocacy services to Iowans with disabilities on both an individual and systemic basis. DRI provides services free of charge.
What issues does DRI focus on? Although the needs of Iowans with disabilities can be unlimited, DRI funds are very limited. Therefore, DRI’s Board of Directors– based on input from the public, individuals with disabilities and their families and DRI’s Board, staff, and mental health advisory council– identify DRI’s areas of focus. DRI’s Areas of Focus for 2023-2025 can be found here: https://disabilityrightsiowa.org/what-we-do/
What issues does DRI not accept? Regardless of the individual’s disability or his/her initial eligibility, DRI will not accept cases, and will only provide information and referral services, when the following issues are presented:
- Divorce, child custody, and adoption.
- Estate planning (wills and trusts).
- Criminal or juvenile delinquency representation.
- 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.
- Civil litigation related to ADA Title I claims of employment discrimination based on disability in state or federal court.
- Initiation of guardianship or conservatorship of a person; and
- Cases involving inmates at state or federal correctional facilities (other than denial of disability-related accommodations.)