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About Us

The Iowa Department of Human Rights ... We Grow Opportunity


The Iowa Department of Human Rights is an agency within the State of Iowa executive branch of government.  Our mission is to ensure basic rights, freedoms and opportunities for all by empowering underrepresented Iowans and eliminating economic, social and cultural barriers.   We help individuals attain economic independence by ensuring access to government services and advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success consistent with their aspirations. 

Your Partner for a Better Iowa

The Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) brings strength to our rich Iowa heritage.  Our three divisions - Community Action Agencies, Community Advocacy and Services, and Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning - come together in a unified effort to serve, connect, advocate, empower, and inform.  We work to reduce cultural, social, and economic barriers and provide opportunities for upward mobility.  

Core Priorities

The Iowa Department of Human Rights advocates for underrepresented Iowans and fosters hope within our communities by educating individuals, businesses and government entities about the needs, rights and responsibilities of all Iowans. As a state agency, we have a special responsibility to ensure accessibility to government in order to improve Iowans’ quality of life.  Review our strategic plan below for more information about our vision, mission and goals.  Our core priorities are to empower Iowans to become self-sufficient, to help Iowans access services, and to  improve the state's criminal and juvenile justice system. 

The Division of Community Action Agencies (DCAA) addresses issues facing low-income families by bringing resources to the community level.  We link state and federal programs with 17 existing Community Action Agencies and other community-based organizations across the state to effectively serve elderly, disabled and low-income Iowans.

The Division of Community Advocacy and Services (CAS) celebrates and serves diverse populations and communities within the state that may need additional resources. CAS houses seven offices: Native AmericansAfrican AmericansAsian and Pacific IslandersLatinosWomenPersons with Disabilities, and Deaf Services. The offices work in synergy, assisting and supporting individuals and underserved communities as they relate to each other.

The Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP) conducts research, planning, data coordination, and information clearinghouse functions for the state's justice system.  By overlaying research and statistics on policies and practices, we often see ways to gain better results.  Then we work with internal and external partners to advise, assist, inform and advocate.

DHR Video