The Iowa Direct Care Worker Task Force was established in 2005 by the Iowa General Assembly to make recommendations regarding education and training of direct care workers in Iowa. This was especially timely for Iowa for several reasons, including predicted workforce shortages in health care and other fields, significant increases in the elderly population in the state, and an increased focus on consumer choice and home and community based care. The work of the Task Force in 2005-2006 and then again in 2007-2008 involved multiple stakeholders, including direct care workers, consumers, family members, health care providers, long term care providers, disability providers, mental health providers, and all state agencies impacted by these issues.
The ultimate goal of the Task Force was to develop recommendations to create an accessible, flexible, quality system of education and training for all direct care workers in Iowa. This drove their decision to recommend direct care worker classifications based on function (not setting) to allow for consistency and portability of education and training. The Direct Care Worker Task Force recognized that this is a significant undertaking, and cannot be done hastily, but with thoughtful deliberation and in partnership with all stakeholders. The reports of the Task Force are a result of the comprehensive, thoughtful, and often challenging, work. Further development of recommendations and implementation is ongoing, continuing through an advisory council to the Iowa Department of Public Health, established by House File 2539 during the 2008 legislative session.