Monday, April 26, 2021

Housing unit closed at state-run facility for intellectually disabled

(Radio Iowa) - A house at the Glenwood Resource Center has been closed and the head of the state agency that oversees the facility says other units are being consolidated, to better manage staffing levels. The facility that cares for patients with intellectual disabilities is Glenwood's largest employer. Department of Human Resources director Kelly Garcia says her agency got extra money a year ago to hire more staff.

"Despite our best efforts, we were unable to fill a bit more than a dozen employees that are direct care workers," Garcia says.

Eight patients were in the housing unit that closed. Garcia says one transitioned to the community and the other seven were transferred to Woodward Resource Center, the other state-run facility that cares for patients with intellectual disabilities.

"That was planned for many months," Garcia says, "and that was really to offset staffing levels at Glenwood that we have been unable to fill in the last year."

In December, U.S. Justice Department announced its investigation of Glenwood concluded the constitutional rights of patients had been violated by their forced participation in deviant human experiments. Garcia took over as DHS director in late 2019 and three weeks later the state was notified of the federal investigation into operations at Glenwood.

"We don't have any other closures and moved planned at this time, but we are constantly evaluating," Garcia says. "We received our draft consent decree from the feds. I'm not able to share it. It is confidential in nature, but we are continuing to look at what our path forward looks like for Glenwood."

A consent decree in this case would be an agreement between the State of Iowa and the federal government. The U.S. Justice Department investigation, released December 20th, found reasonable cause that Glenwood residents had been subjected to unreasonable harm. The department's Civil Rights Division indicated it had given state officials a list of steps necessary to address what it had uncovered at Glenwood.

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