JUVENILE HOME: Workers Fighting Closure Decision

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Workers, family members, supporters and several Democratic lawmakers have planned an emergency meeting Thursday at the South Tama High School gym at 7p.m.

The meeting comes after Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announced last week he would close the troubled Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo.

The Department of Human Services said the center houses 23 girls, many of whom have suffered physical and sexual abuse.

Critics complained some girls were kept for extended times in isolation units and haven't received proper treatment or educational services.

Branstad pushed back Monday at critics who say he has failed to fix the issues since returning to the governor's office in 2011. Branstad said, "Instead of trying to cast the blame, I want to address the problem and fix it in a way that meets the needs of the kids."

The governor said the girls will be transferred to other facilities and the center's 93 employees will be laid off.

Branstad's actions follow the recommendations from a task force that looked into the issues at the home.


  • Mindy

    as a parent of a child that was recently in the Toledo home we were told by the Iowa DHS that we had no rights while our child was there and that they did not have to give us any information about her including her health which was very upsetting since she has a very serious heart condition i am very upset that everyone is so concerned about the money spent on the facility or the jobs that will be lost and not the emotional or psychological damage that has been done to all these children over the years in a facility that was ran by the state and overseen by the Iowa DHS or what may be happening to all the other children in the several other facilities throughout the state also overseen by the DHS. they did things to our child and others for years that would have gotten us as parents put in jail, placed on the child abuse registry and our children take from us but because they are the government they are allowed to do as they please and apparently with no recourse other than oh shoot you caught us so we will close this facility no one in the DHS or any of our government officials lose their jobs just they people doing as they where told to do by the state and the DHS

    • Ryan

      Curious as to how your child ended up a ward of the state! Not usually by accident and not usually as a result of effective parenting! I find that typically people with the most to complain about are the ones attempting to cover up their feelings of guilt and failure! Can’t guarantee that this is your experience but neither can you claim that there is emotional and psychological damage occurring to all of these children. After reading the stories of several of these youth your claims appear to be false and slanderous.

    • Tamara Fish

      I’m a former resident of the Iowa Juvenile Home. In fact I was there for nearly 4 years. I was not abused or mistreated in any way! I was given hope, encouragement and direction. I finally had a stable environment that allowed me to succeed. I’m now 40 years old and have my own family. If one of my children were spiraling out of control… IJH would be my first choice. Your information is misconstrued and your facts aren’t facts.

    • Ryan

      Don’t think it’s appropriate to project your own mistrust upon others! Just because you would lie to save your own job doesn’t mean that others would as well!
      Idiots will make idiotic comments, people need to know that!

    • Mario Lanza

      Troy: you know this how, and who are you to say? Easy to throw rocks from the gallery at the behest of newspapers and professional haters of the state. But do you tell the truth? I don’t think so.

    • Tamara Fish

      Hmm and I suppose all the former residence stepping foward to defend IJH are also liers? I take that personal because I’m a former resident and they taught me not to lie. It seems that some of the slanderous accusers out there should have been residence as well… maybe they would’ve learned better behavior. Just sayin.

  • john

    At Fort Madison, they tried to ‘save money’ by not staffing a guard tower, and 2 lifers escaped. So they re-staffed the empty guard tower? Nooooooo, they built a 120 million dollar prison to solve the problem they created.

    Same thing here – instead of correcting specific staff actions, they shut down the whole facility

    seems like a pattern here…

    • Mario Lanza

      They at Ft. Madison also sent four lifers to Texas by way of a privatized transport service, and thus, lost them.

      The “pattern” is under-funding the facilities in the first place, then forcing impossible choices on the local management and employees, and finally letting any problems or blame fall onto them, not the real decision makers in Des Moines at the top, including the big top (pun intended) in the Governor’s office and the Department of Management.

  • Byron

    I don’t see ANYONE addressing the actual concerns raised by the task force. I also have trouble with the logic that, “because they treated me right, EVERYONE who goes there is treated right”. AND, It’s simply time to move on people. This archaic idea of a “placement of last resort” for CHILDREN has to go. And finally, 90+ employees to take care of 20+ kids—-taxpayers deserve a look at some alternatives even if there were ZERO problems with the program there, especially if the norm is to keep them till adulthood….and by the way, THEN WHAT. Sending a new adult directly from an isolation cell to the streets just don’t seem cool to begin with.

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