UPDATE: 02-18: Iowa Director of Human Services Charles Palmer's public information officer has issued this statement to The Chronicle concerning the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training school for girls in Toeldo:
Director Palmer always welcomes input from Iowans. He has visited with youth who were served at the Iowa Juvenile Home and wanted to share their personal stories, as well as former staff and community members. He has also met with area representatives as requested. The director's focus is on the best interest of the youth who were served at IJH, and meeting their challenging and changing needs through placements in licensed and/or accredited settings, or back at home. The final youth exited IJH only one month ago, and monitoring these placements is at the forefront of the department's efforts. The physical campus is being maintained, and the state continues to explore options for its future use.
EARLIER CHRONICLE STORY:
Iowa Department of Human Services Director
The Office of Governor Terry Branstad has replied to at least some letters written to him concerning the closing of the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo with a form response. In it, the Governor explains his concern for the well-being of Iowa children served takes precedent over other considerations in making the decision.
He addresses the programs and services available to the 90-some IJH employees who lost their jobs.
The letter closes, "Governor Branstad recognizes the impact this decision has on the community. However, this decision was about protecting Iowa children. He has asked Director Palmer to meet with community members to gather information about future plans and potential uses for the campus."
A poll of four of five members of the Toledo City Council, Mayor Dave Svoboda and Toledo business people conducted last week found no one has yet to be contacted by Palmer, who is the director of the Iowa Department of Human Services which was in charge of the IJH / Training school operations.
An email sent to the Department of Human Services on Thursday, Feb. 13, asked "Has Director Palmer met with any Toledo officials concerning the future of the Iowa Juvenile home in Toledo or plan to initiate meetings?"
There has been no response by Chronicle press deadline.
In a related inquiry, Disability Rights Iowa has also not yet answered an email asking if the minutes of the DRI Board of Directors will be posted on the website of the advocacy group - disabilityrightsiowa.org/.
The board is reported to meet quarterly - the last meeting on Jan. 25 in Des Moines. however, only minutes of the Jan. 26, 2013, meeting can be found.
Disability Rights Iowa is a federally-funded private group of lawyers who conducted an investigation at IJH and their charges of education and rights violations led to the closing order according to the Governor.