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Efforts continue to save IJH

Caravan To Des Moines Today To Meet Legislators

January 22, 2014
By John Speer - Editor (jspeer@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

"The fight is NOT over!" proclaims a post on the social media Facebook page "SAVE THE IJH AT THE STATE CAPITOL!"

At Chronicle deadline a meeting had been set for today (Wednesday, Jan 22 with legislators at the capitol in Des Moines beginning about 1 p.m.

A bus was scheduled to leave the Skopko parking lot in Toledo to carry some of the supporters of the effort to the capitol at 11:30 a.m.

Article Photos

An Iowa State Trooper stops to check a lone vehicle.entering the Iowa Juvenile Home /State Training School for Girls campus in?Toledo. on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 16. By the same time on Friday the campus appeared deserted - the first time in 93 years.
Chronicle/John Speer

Meanwhile, State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center) told The Chronicle in an email the lawsuit which he is a party to challenging Governor Branstad's authority to close the Toledo institution looks now like a March court date. Sodders wrote in an email the date could change.

The employees of the Iowa?Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo were laid off their jobs on Jan. 15 and directed to vacate the campus.

In an email, The Chronicle sought the reaction of the Governor upon the closing and also asked?"Are there any plans on the table or in the works for use of the facility?

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"The Governor's top concern has been the well-being of the youth who were served by the Iowa Juvenile Home. The buildings will be maintained, and the state will continue to examine options for the campus. DHS continues to offer employment assistance to former Iowa Juvenile Home employees as they make this transition" was the response received from Jimmy Centers, the Governor's media spokesperson.

The response was much the same from the Iowa DHS: "The best interest of the youth remains the top concern for the Iowa Department of Human Services. The department is committed to serving the type of youth historically served by the Iowa Juvenile Home, whether through private providers, state institutions, or by offering services and supports through their own family and community.

We understand this is a difficult time for employees who have dedicated their efforts to the Iowa Juvenile Home. The state has assisted them through the layoff process and continues to offer services and supports.

Legislators React

State Representative Dean Fisher (R-Garwin): "I am shocked and disgusted at the way the final days at the IJH were handled by the Department of Human Services and Department of Administrative Services. The employees had been told that Thursday, January 16 would be their last day, so they had made their plans for Thursday to say goodbye to their colleagues, take a last look around, and then gather afterwards to support each other. By swooping in unannounced a day early and ordering them all to pack their personal belongings in an hour with law enforcement to watch over them was needlessly insulting and humiliating. These fine IJH staff members had worked hard and endured much to help Iowa's troubled teens turn their lives around, they deserved much more respect than this."

State Senator Sodders: "I am disappointed of course for the almost half of the young ladies that were mis placed into inappropriate placements throughout the state including shelters which are not set up for those kids. I'm disgusted with Gov. Branstad and Lt Gov Reynolds response as " We all make mistakes" when told what they did. We can do better. I have both a law suit to show the

Governor has not followed the law and Sen. Hatch and I are working to re write the code section for the Iowa Juvenile home in Toledo..."

 
 

 

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