JUVENILE HOME: Democrats Question Closure

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Iowa Democrats say they are moving fast in an effort to save the Iowa Juvenile Home.

“Closing one of the facilities that provides care to children who need services isn’t the right way to go,” State Representative Mark Smith said.

Several Democrats have filed a lawsuit and others are working on filing legislation.

The issue has taken center stage since the facility closed last week.

The governor and DHS decided to shut down the facility after reports surfaced that teenage girls were put in isolation cells for long periods of time.

Democratic leaders want to know why some girls were sent back to their homes and not to another facility.

“Does everyone believe they were all really ready to go home? And if they were, why weren’t they back before?” asked State Senator Mike Gronstal . “Fourteen girls were dumped back home. Doesn’t sound like a really good placement, doesn’t sound like really good planning.”

Republican State Rep. Linda Upmeyer said they’re pursuing the issue.

“First and foremost we want to make sure kids are given proper services and provided proper care. That’s the central objective of everyone’s work and that’s what we’re going to stay focused on and we’ll see what comes out of the committees on this issue.”

All 96 employees at the facility have been laid off.

1 Comment

  • skylarrew

    Janet I feel so different about this place. I heard the reports given by past residents and find it hard to see their point of view. I remember things from the time I spent there. It did mold my future, As I remember cleaning the floors of Duggan cottage 1969-71 on my hands and knees with a tooth brush. I wasn’t a violent person, but I ran away from people and places that I felt caused danger. Why would a place that is suppose to protect you, allow a gym teacher Gale, to have indecent contact with the girls Francis A. she was suppose to protect? Why would a girl have to have her jaws sewn together after a unfriendly meeting in the clothing room with a bully while All of the other girls were wittiness to that beating. Kathy. Those who cared were too afraid to tell, for fear of the same kind of beating. Yep, I don’t see a kind place where I was safe and grew up to be better for it. I spent a few days in the isolation room. They took the mattress , blankets and left me in there. It was air conditioned so I crawled into the closet to try to keep warm.

    What saved me came after that home, in a group home where I finished school, Oskaloosa . There I had support and kindness. There I learned that it was okay. I was safe from That home. I have nightmares about it. It may have changed over the years, hard to tell since I have never gone back to see it. I don’t support this place or think I could ever do that. Not enough people to watch the watchers. Make it a smaller place with all new staff, who have proper training and cameras with live monitors so nothing can occur. But since lock ups are still there we need staff to make sure they are never used like abuse ever again.

    I am a Democrat, just one who had the misfortune to be held captive in this place that don’t seem to change over the years. listen in your heart and you will hear the cries of girls and boys who had to endure the hell this place was to us.

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