The leader of a task force that studied the mistreatment of 21 mentally disabled men at a boarding house in Atalissa presented their findings to state lawmakers today. John McCalley, is also the director of the Iowa Department on Aging, and he asked lawmakers to pass reforms to prevent similar abuse.
McCalley says some reforms won’t cost anything — but others will take some funding to implement. McCalley says for the five that do require funding, "We urge you..to not to dismiss them simply because of cost but to think of them in terms of longer term solutions." McCalley says it’s possible that similar situations still exist elsewhere in the state.
"Given the fact that the Henry’s situation was known for 34 years, it’s reasonable to assume that there could that situations that are similar in overall nature are occurring in Iowa," McCalley says. The bill would mandate a public awareness campaign to ferret out any additional problems. It will also require all boarding homes to register with the state, and it will force state agencies to use a uniform assessment for determining dependent adult abuse in the future.
Lawmakers say they are exploring ways to pay for additional reforms, including an extensive redesign of Department of Human Services policies.