Under the watchful guard of the Iowa State Patrol a series of moves of equipment, supplies and what the Department of Human Services says is records continued to be observed last week on the campus of the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo.
The facility was ordered closed Jan. 15 by Governor Terry Branstad and Department of Human Services Director Charles Palmer in response ot allegations of improper use of isolation rooms and educational deficiencies among other charges. A State Patrol member has been stationed on the campus most of the time in recent weeks.
The Chronicle submitted follow up questions on Thursday, May 22, to April responses received from the Department of Human Services.
Workers carry the furnishings of Palmer Cottage to awaiting trucks on the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls campus in Toledo on Thursday morning, May 22. The equipment and furnishings are being taken to other State of Iowa facilities according to the Department of Human Services.
In April, it was asked: "On Jan. 30 the Governor's office told me (Chronicle editor John Speer) in an email "He (Governor Branstad) has asked Director Palmer to meet with community members to gather information about future plans and potential uses for the campus (Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo.) Since that time, I have been unable to identify anyone whom Director Palmer has met with. The question is - What is the direction of this, if any?"
Then, DHS answered, in part, "Legislators continue working on proposals regarding IJH, and there is pending litigation. The department will examine these actions before moving forward with plans for the facility."
On last Thursday, the question posed was:?"To the best of my knowledge litigation - the appeal of the Polk County District Court decision to the Iowa Supreme Court- has not yet been heard. Yet, with the removal of the physical inventory at IJH, is there certainly not action being taken without settlement of the litigation?"
The response from DHS seemed to sidestep or ignore the earlier litigation concern: "Legislators appropriated no funds to serve youth at the Iowa Juvenile Home in SFY 2015. It is a prudent use of taxpayer resources to redistribute these items where they can be used as part of the active treatment of Iowans served by the state."
Flags, Historical Items
Also of concern to some local persons has been the disposition of the memorial flags paid for by them for display on the campus usually on Memorial and Labor days. In addition, The Chronicle asked about a collection of historical items relating to the 94-year-old campus and the predecessors, Western and Leander Clarke colleges.
DHS?Public Information Officer Amy Lorentzen-McCoy offered this assurance: "These items remain secured at the campus. Staff overseeing the inventory at the Iowa Juvenile Home will be respectful in the handling and disposition of donated and historical items, and work continues on this effort."
When the IJH / Training School was closed in January, remaining students on campus had already been transferred to other care arrangements according ot the DHS.
More than 90 employees were laid off.