Group homes rather than massive institutions are the trend in care for the mentally retarded. The state of Iowa runs two institutions for the mentally retarded in Glenwood and Woodward, and those facilities have become part of the trend according to Iowa Department of Human Services director Kevin Concannon who oversees the entire system. “Both of these centers this year have opened up community-based group homes staffed with staff from both Glenwood and Woodward and I think that is a good trend. It’s a positive thing,” Concannon says. He says it helps provide expert support to the mentally retarded who’ve been living in Glenwood and Woodward as they move into the community. Concannon says Iowa was late in the development of intermediate care facilities for people with mental retardation. Today, there are about 15-hundred mentally retarded residents in community-based facilities, and Concannon says there can be growth if the state figures out a new way to help finance care in those centers by getting rid of some regulations that require expenses that don’t necessarily benefit residents. Concannon says moving mentally retarded residents from Glenwood and Woodward into nearby group homes has been a good experience for all involved. Concannon says parents with mentally retarded children who’ve been living in Glenwood or Woodward have been “leery” that a with move to a community-based home, the state support for their child’s care would dwindle. Concannon says the experience of newly-opened group homes near Glenwood and Woodward, though, is dispelling those fears.
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