Iowa to close long-troubled center for disabled people

Apr 7, 2022, 2:55 PM | Updated: 3:35 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa center for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities that has been the subject of persistent criticism and federal investigations will close, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday.

The Glenwood Resource Center, which has treated vulnerable people since the early 1900s, will close by June 30, 2024. The facility, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southwest of Des Moines, has 152 patients and a staff of about 650.

The state will begin moving patients out in July by sending about 60 to another state-run facility in Woodward and 10 others into community housing facilities. Over the next year, transitions will continue until the center is closed, with plans to sell the facility by July 1, 2024.

Reynolds announced the closure months after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a strong condemnation of the way Iowa treats people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A letter and report sent to the state in December by Justice Department officials indicated that Iowa was needlessly institutionalizing people with intellectual disabilities and that the state’s treatment likely violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide services that integrate patients into their communities.

“Iowans with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserve quality care that aligns with the expectations of the DOJ. Our best path forward to achieve those standards is closing GRC and reinvesting in a community-based care continuum that offers a broad array of services,” Reynolds said in a statement.

Her statement also included comments from Republican legislative leaders in support of the decision.

Democratic leaders Sen. Zach Wahls and Rep. Jennifer Konfrst said in a statement that the decision was inevitable “because of years of indifference and neglect shown to the Glenwood community by Governor Reynolds and Republican lawmakers.”

The DOJ report said Iowa officials have known for years that community-based support for people with complex medical and behavioral needs is insufficient and have acknowledged they have failed to meaningfully assess the capacity of the community service system.

Federal officials said Iowa has one of the nation’s highest percentages of residents with intellectual disabilities who live in institutions.

A 2002 DOJ investigation found that conditions at Glenwood and Woodward were constitutionally deficient. An agreement was reached then for the state to “encourage and assist people to move to the most integrated settings.”

The state got a grant in 2007 to help overcome its approach that favored institutionalizing people, but the December 2021 report said the state had failed to adequately develop community services and support including crisis intervention.

On Nov. 21, 2019, the DOJ notified Iowa of a new investigation, and in a December 2020 report, federal officials said the Glenwood center likely violated the constitutional rights of residents by subjecting them to human experiments, including sexual arousal research. Some of the experiments were deemed dangerous by federal investigators.

Reynolds promised a smooth transition for the residents, assistance in helping state workers find other jobs and help in identifying alternative uses for the Glenwood campus after it closes.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
2 days ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
2 days ago
(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
8 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
16 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
16 days ago
Tom Brundy points to a newly built irrigation canal on one of the fields at his farm Tuesday, Feb. ...
Associated Press

Southwest farmers reluctant to idle farmland to save water

There is a growing sense that fallowing will have to be part of the solution to the increasingly desperate drought in the West.
23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Iowa to close long-troubled center for disabled people