On Thursday, Governor Reynolds, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, and House Speaker Pat Grassley announced that the state intends to close the Glenwood Resource Center (GRC) in 2024. Located in Glenwood, GRC provides residential care and other services for Iowans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Over the next two years, GRC will continue to provide care for its residents while working with their guardians and families to transition them to community placements or the Woodward Resource Center. Existing staff members will be critical in supporting a smooth transition for residents and, as such, will be offered retention incentives to continue working at GRC during this time. The state will also assist staff in identifying new career opportunities in Iowa as their employment nears an end.
Additionally, the state will work with local government officials and community leaders to minimize the impact on the Glenwood community and Mills County, and to identify alternative uses for the GRC campus after the facility closes.
Throughout the transition period, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) will work with care providers statewide to build the resources needed to ensure access to the full continuum of care for Iowans with disabilities.
In November 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened a two-part investigation into Iowa’s state-operated resource centers for the time period spanning from 2017 through 2020, focusing on serious allegations involving GRC and the state’s over-reliance on institutional settings for serving individuals with disabilities. DHS has worked cooperatively with the DOJ throughout the investigation and has implemented its own improvement efforts to address concerns.
Despite the progress that has been made, significant challenges remain. While negotiations with the DOJ continue, the expectations that have been outlined for services, workforce, and additional investment at GRC cannot be attained and sustained long term at the facility. Accordingly, in line with its commitment to serving individuals in the least restrictive setting, the state will enhance support to community providers as it simultaneously looks to expand services at Woodward Resource Center, making it a central point of care delivery and coordination for vulnerable Iowans.
“While necessary, the decision to close the Glenwood Resource Center is a difficult one that I take very seriously. For many residents, it’s the only home they’ve ever known. I am fully committed to a seamless and successful transition of care for them, their families and the staff at Glenwood,” stated Gov. Reynolds. “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. That’s what we’re prepared to do to continue to meet the needs of Iowans.”
“Despite significant effort over the last two years to improve care and respond to DOJ directives, continued operation of the Glenwood Resource Center has become untenable. This was a difficult decision, and we are committed to ensuring that the transition process thoughtfully addresses the concerns of everyone impacted by the closure,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver.
“In addition to families, guardians, residents and staff, this decision directly affects the entire Glenwood community, and we don’t take that lightly,” said House Speaker Pat Grassley. “As we work to meet the needs of GRC residents in the least restrictive setting possible, we will also be working closely with state agencies and local officials to ensure we support the needs of the community throughout this process.”
The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services will be on-site at GRC beginning today to meet with guardians, family members, and staff. The department will continue to provide updates and critical information as work progresses.
Additional information and ongoing updates can be found online at dhs.iowa.gov/doj.