The five-member Iowa Juvenile Home Task Force met for a third session on Monday, Sept. 30, in Des Moines.
The group was assembled to make recommendations to Governor Terry Branstad as the result of allegations and an investigation by Disability Rights Iowa.
Its members claim a number of violations of rights of children at the institution which also serves as the State Training School for Girls.
Iowa Juvenile home - Girls state Training School at Toledo.
News-Herald file/John Speer
Three staff member from IJH in Toledo were among those making presentations. They were Chuck Anderson, Youth Service Worker, Dorothy Frese, Youth Service Worker and Diane Sawyer, Vocational Teacher.
In addition, testimony was heard from Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa and members of a child welfare funding panel. The Task Force report is due to the Governor by Oct. 15.
Amy McCoy, Iowa Department of Human Services spokesperson told The News-Herald in an email the Task Force "will submit them to the governor's office, and they will be released from there".
A news release from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) gave this summary of the testimony from the IJH?staff:
"The relationships I have created with current and former youth are life-long. I have youth who call in regularly just to check in. Some of the youth will call to tell me they have stayed clean from drugs X amount of time," said Anderson.
"I am always teaching youth a life lesson when the opportunity arises as the youth become your own children as you become so involved in them," added Anderson.
"The youth current and past mean a lot to me. I have worked hard to build healthy, positive relationships with the youth. At times the staff at the Juvenile Home are the only healthy relationships these youth have. I recently received a phone call from a former youth. She has three kids and is three credits away from finishing her degree in social work. She thanked me for helping her. That's what makes this job worthwhile," said Frese.
"My students have competed in state job skill competitions for job interviewing," said Vocational Teacher Diane Sawyer.
"Several stories were written about my girls on the obstacles they have overcome in their life and the successes in their life now. One young lady appears in the Grace from the Garden book: all about building a greenhouse and feeding the needy," added Sawyer.
"Students see these opportunities as a privilege, not a punishment. They build positive relationships with older adults such as the elderly, police officers, and other adults. They take ownership in all our projects. I would place my students against any public school student on completing any jobs," added Sawyer.