System Values

The Department of Human Services and the Division of Mental Health and Disability Services are committed to the values of choice, empowerment, and community for all Iowans.

  • The state mental health and disabilities service system is intended to emphasize the ability of individuals to exercise their own choices about the amounts and types of services they receive.
  • All levels of the services system should seek to empower persons with disabilities to accept responsibility, exercise choices, and take risks.
  • Disability services should be individualized, flexible, provided to produce results, and be cost-effective.
  • Disability services should be provided in a way that supports the ability of individuals with disabilities to live, learn, work, and recreate in communities of their choice.

    ~Iowa General Assembly, House File 2780 (2006)


Guiding Principles

Consumer and Family Driven

  • Individuals and their families take the lead in identifying service and support needs and are fully involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of services and supports
  • Unique individual and family strengths, needs, choices and preferences are the basis for services and support planning and delivery.
  • Services are welcoming, accessible, comprehensive, and responsive to the needs of the individual.

Community Based, High Quality, and Results Oriented 

  • Services are community based, with a continuum of high quality, accessible, and effective services available.
  • Quality services encourage and support the development of each individual’s abilities and minimize intrusion in or disruption of the individual’s life style. Housing is affordable, safe, stable, and maximizes community integration and opportunities for community involvement.
  • State of the art practices, training, and research are supported and utilized.
  • Focus is placed on outcomes and the prevention of the need for more costly or restrictive services and supports.

Respectful of the Individual and Culturally Competent 

  • The individuals’ strengths and skills are emphasized.
  • Recovery and self-determination are promoted. 
  • Individual human rights are protected.
  • Services and supports are provided in a culturally competent manner.
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