The 21 youth at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo are being removed from the facility.
Department of Human Services Director Charles Palmer made the decision Monday.
After the use of seclusion rooms was revealed, Branstad appointed a task force to examine procedures at the home. Those members found it wasn’t cost-effective to keep treating children there according to DHS spokesperson Amy Lorentzen McCoy.
“What they determined is that we really needed to look at the mission of the home, and what children should be served there,” McCoy said. “In doing that, we were able to determine that these alternative placements will provide them with quality care. They will also be able to receive matching federal funds to help with treatment needs.”
However Democratic lawmakers say the closure wasn’t recommend by the task force.
House Minority Leader Mark Smith released a statement saying, “While changes are necessary at the facility, the task force did not recommend closing the facility nor did it recommend sending young girls to facilities out of state far away from family. ”
While most children will be moved to in-state locations, a small number could be moved out of Iowa. Court approval is necessary before any child is moved into new care.
Smith says the decision on the future of the home should have been left to lawmakers.
The head of AFSCME Council 61, the union that represents employees at the juvenile home, says Governor Branstad ignored his pledge to be transparent by making a “closed door decision.”
All 93 employees will be laid off effective January 16th.