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Iowa Juvenile home closing protested

Public Meeting Set For Thursday, Dec. 19

December 18, 2013
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

By John Speer


Article Photos

The Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls campus in Toledo on Monday, Dec. 9 after closing of the facility was announced.
Chronicle file/John Speer

"Keep the Iowa Juvenile Home Open" is the billing for a community meeting set for this Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the South Tama High School Gym in Tama.

State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center) and State Representative Dean Fisher (R-Garwin) are slated to attend.

It is expected testimony to the benefits IJH has provided to Iowa youth over its 93-year history will be among the topics presented.

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The Iowa Department of Human Services announced on Dec. 9 the Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo would close on Jan. 16, 2014, and its current staff numbering 93 would be laid off.

The institution had been under fire since early this year when the federally-funded Disability Rights Iowa, a non-profit attorney group, began publicizing the findings of an investigation of the facility's operation.

Charges of not providing required education to at least two girls and violations of rules governing confinement in quiet rooms or isolation were leveled.

Fact Box

Chronicle: ? It Out:

WHAT:?Keep the Juvenile Home Open community meeting

WHEN:?Thursday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m.

WHERE: South Tama High School Gym, 1715 Harding, Tama

Public invited

Governor Terry Branstad appointed a five-member Task Force to assess the circumstances and it brought in a number of recommendations in October.

Following the decision to close the facility, Disability Rights Iowa issued a press release saying, in part, it "supports and applauds" the decision to close IJH.

At the time of the closing announcement DHS?said there were 21 girls remaining on the campus which would be placed in other care.

A poster hung locally urges residents to "Register your opinion with Governor Branstad's office by submitting handwritten letters or submit by using the Governor's online opinion form.

The IJH?has an authorized capacity levels of 57 children and a staff number of 114.

The institution has operated in Toledo since 1920 serving over the years in roles of an orphanage, home for children in need of assistance (CINA) and delinquent girls.



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