Gov. Terry Branstad is making a statement about the mistreatment of children at the Iowa Juvenile Home.
He says the blame lies with union workers — not with management.
“We have union work rules and we have a lot of people who work there that are stuck in the old way and want to continue to do things the way they’ve always done and that’s not acceptable. We’re going to work to see that it’s changed and do it in a way that’s fair,” says Branstad.
A Des Moines Register reporter revealed teenage girls are often placed in “isolation rooms” at the Toledo facility. The girls would spend thousands of hours each month in them. The practice has gone on at the home for decades.
Gov. Branstad says the juvenile home is now working to do away with the extensive use of isolation rooms.
“With the new leadership at the juvenile home Chuck Palmer is trying to change the culture,” says Branstad.
Chuck Palmer is the head of the Iowa Department of Human Services. He was head of the DHS during Branstad’s previous terms in office, back when the isolation rooms were also used extensively.
A new interim superintendent took over at the home earlier this year.
Danny Homan is the head of the union that represents workers at the Iowa Juvenile Home. He accuses Gov. Branstad of refusing to accept responsibility.
Homan tells the Des Moines Register union workers simply follow the procedures outlined by their superiors.