DHR's Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP) tracks data and trends related to juvenile and adult offenders, and has long been involved with Iowa's disproportionate number of minorities in juvenile detention and the corrections system. Staffing the Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee and the Governor's Youth, Race and Detention Task Force, CJJP has seen promising results from data-driven, community-based solutions that work toward ensuring equal protection for all Iowans in the juvenile and adult systems.
Similarly, the Division of Community Advocacy and Services (CAS) is tracking the issue of the disproportionate number of minority children in out-of-home placements and/or who are involved in the child welfare system. Like in many other states, Iowa's Native American and African American families are overrepresented in the child welfare system, endangering family integrity and cultural heritage.
Equal access to information and effective communication is essential for all Iowans seeking health care, but can especially be a challenge for those who are not English-proficient or who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Qualified, culturally competent interpreters (sign language, Spanish, other languages) are necessary for these patients in order to provide the highest quality health care services and decrease medical costs. Health service providers can receive reimbursement for language services provided to Medicaid patients. Additionally, health information should be provided in a patient's most proficient language when possible to ensure understanding. For instance, Rochester General Hospital (Rochester, NY) has general health handouts on a number of topics translated into several languages.
In achieving its vision of a more productive and inclusive Iowa, DHR promotes equitable employment and economic opportunities for persons of color, persons with disabilities, persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, and women. Data continue to show significant disparities in employment, income, and advancement opportunities for several population groups. Through diversity training initiatives and policy advocacy, DHR educates Iowa government, the private sector and the public about the value of a diverse workforce and provides practical tools to make a diverse workforce more possible and more effective. We also offer training and resources on ways to reduce the wage gap, from wage negotiation to employer self-audits.