116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
With the planned closing of Glenwood Resource Center, Iowa finally has the chance to do right by its most severely disabled citizens.
I have seen the failure of what we used to call “community placements.” They failed because of inadequate staff training, insufficient access to medical care and the isolation that can occur even in a caring community.
I have also seen people live richer and fuller lives by being with their families frequently, enjoying natural supports and professional services, contributing to their communities, and becoming part of the fabric of our society rather than living as segregated outcasts on the edge of the state. Because small facilities don’t have the overhead of large bureaucratic institutions, this has often been done at lower cost to taxpayers. According to the most recent state audit, the average per-resident cost of care at Glenwood was nearly $384,000 a year.
The main difference between failed and successful community placements for people who have lived in institutions are two qualities that Iowa has never demonstrated: commitment and oversight. Closing Glenwood is a promising step toward equality, full citizenship, and more efficient use of tax dollars, but it will require all the resources and leadership that DHS Director Kelly Garcia can muster.
I am hopeful that the state will at last protect the constitutional rights of vulnerable Iowans and allow them the opportunity to live as independently as possible, in a state that genuinely cares about them and their families.