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Employee union, state senators sue to keep Iowa Juvenile Home open

January 2, 2014
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

DES MOINES Today, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan, Senator Jack Hatch, Senator Steve Sodders, Representative Mark Smith, and Representative Pat Murphy filed suit in the Iowa District Court for Polk County to stop Governor Branstad's closure of the Iowa Juvenile Home.

The lawsuit, which was filed against Governor Terry Branstad and DHS Director Charles Palmer, seeks an injunction to prevent the closing of the Iowa Juvenile Home.

"The legislature passed and the governor signed into law legislation that provides funding for the operation of the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo in both Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2015. We believe it is unconstitutional and unlawful for the governor to close the Juvenile Home and disregard legislation that was passed by the Iowa House and Iowa Senate and signed into law by him," said AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan.

Article Photos

Iowa Juvenile Home campus in Toledo.
Chronicle/John Speer

In a statement released Monday, State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center said, "I joined this effort because Governor Branstad is abandoning Iowa children in need of serious help. I hope it will provide an objective, public review of Governor Branstad's mismanagement of the Iowa Juvenile Home. For many years, the state of Iowa has invested in providing care for children who can't be helped elsewhere. The goal of this lawsuit is to stop Governor Branstad's shameful attempt to abandon that responsibility."

"Throughout Governor Branstad's time in office, he has demonstrated a pattern of blaming others for his decisions. He has refused to accept responsibility for the mismanagement of the Iowa Juvenile Home by his managers. He has tried to claim that the decision to close the home was a result of the Iowa Juvenile Home Protection Task Force's recommendations. However, the task force's report contains no such recommendation to close the Juvenile Home," added Homan.

"Over the past few weeks, the public has heard many testimonials from girls who resided at the Iowa Juvenile Home. These testimonials show how the staff of the Juvenile Home has made a positive difference in the lives of countless troubled Iowa youth. This lawsuit will hopefully allow the staff to be able to continue to carry on this important mission," added Homan.

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents many of the employees at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo. Across the state, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 represents 40,000 public and private sector employees.



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