In response to the announced Jan. 16 closing of the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo the association representing many of Iowa's Juvenile Court Officers and employees is calling on the legislature to maintain a facility for placement of the delinquent girls.
In a letter to members of the Iowa House and Senate, Emilea F. Lundberg, president of the Iowa Juvenile Court Services Association, (IJCSA) wrote, in part, "Some of these girls are extremely physically aggressive and present as a danger to themselves and others. They are unable to be serviced in their communities or traditional residential group care. If there is not a State Training School for Girls to address the needs of this highly needy, aggressive, delinquent female population, we will likely see an increase in detention, out-of-state placements, and waiver to adult court, for these girls."
She also wrote, "Previously, the Iowa Juvenile Home (IJH) in Toledo served as this purpose of being the placement of last resort for such girls."
An Iowa State Patrol car is seen parked outside the maintenance building on the IJH campus in Toledo on Sunday, Jan. 5. The State Patrol has often had a presence on the campus since the closing of he Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls was announced on Dec. 9.
Lundberg told The Chronicle the Iowa Juvenile Home Task Force had not consulted the association before reporting its findings to the Governor in October.
The Task Force, while not recommending the closing of IJH, called for significant changes in its operation.
It was formed following an investigation by Disability Rights Iowa, a private, federally-funded group of attorneys, who alleged violations of student rights to education and in keeping two girls in quiet rooms for extended periods, one up to nearly a year.
Jane Hudson, Disability Rights Iowa executive director, told The Chronicle in October her organization went to The Des Moines Register and disclosed its findings. This led to a series of reports on the Disability Rights investigation which were widely circulated.
Lundberg said the IJCSA has not taken a position on where a State Training School for Girls should be located - "Only that it provide the appropriate level of care and serve the clients ordered by the court."
She also wrote in an email response to a Chronicle question- "Does the Association still see a need for the Iowa Juvenile Home as well as Girls Training School?":
"The Iowa Juvenile Home has served at the State Training School for girls since 1982 when the girls training school at Mitchellville was closed to make room for the women's prison. We strongly feel there is a need for this level of care."