The state task force set up to review the way the state handles mentally retarded adults saw a demonstration of a system for registering boarding houses on-line at their meeting today in Des Moines. The on-line registration is one of several suggestions the task force developed for the legislature in the wake of the revelation that 21 mentally retarded men were living together in a run-down home in Attalisa.
Iowa Department on Aging Director, John McCalley, says the start up of the on-line registration keeps them “ahead of schedule” in implementing the changes the legislature approved. McCalley says they got they got some good feedback on the system that they will use to improve the system for those who have to use it. He says the uniform assessment the Department of Human Services will use is also in place and being used, and allows the state to coordinate services for people who’re at-risk. The on-line site will be running by the end of this month or early February.
McCalley says the coordination of services is part of the requirements that are now law, and he says they’ve also implemented new record keeping guidelines. McCalley says the were only keeping records on people for six months, and now they are keeping them for three years. McCalley says the changes address the major problems identified with the Atalisa situation.
He says the state didn’t know where the boarding homes were and now they are required to register and in a few months they will know where the homes are. McCalley says if there are interventions needed by state or local authorities, they will have information to go on, and it will allow them to provide any needed services and supports for those who are found to be at-risk. While McCalley says things are on schedule with the changes implemented to address the concerns Atalisa — the task force will continue meeting on a quarterly basis.
“We know that more work needs to be done, we know that a lot the investigations require some additional investigation and additional public input. So, the task force needs to continue to meet to bring focus to this important issue, and maintain that focus. As long as there are dependent adults at-risk in the state of Iowa, this task force has work to do,” McCalley says.
McCalley says anyone with comments or suggestions can go on-line at: www.aging.iowa.gov. The Atalisa men had been working for a turkey processing company at the time their situation was discovered.