Transfers, layoffs announced for Toledo Juvenile Home - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Transfers, layoffs announced for Toledo Juvenile Home

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TOLEDO (KWWL) -

The 21 girls living at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo will be relocated, according to officials at the Department of Human Services (DHS). The 93 staff members employed by the facility will also be laid off. 

Officials said the decision to relocate the girls was difficult. It comes after Governor Terry Branstad commissioned a report from the Iowa Juvenile Home Protection Task Force.

"It's a big step forward," said Jerry Foxhoven, chair of the task force. "I think that we all knew as members of the task force that we were focused on one issue and one issue alone, and that was what's best for the kids."

The Home has been the subject of a debate in recent months over living conditions, and use of long-term seclusion on residents. Most recently, a judge ruled that a video alleged to show staff abusing children at the home would not be released.

Already, several groups have come out against Monday's decision to transfer the children, including AFSCME, State Senator Steve Sodders, and the Iowa Federation of Labor.

But a DHS spokesperson said the facility director feels confident in the decision to transfer the residents.

"He felt like [the transfers] were in the best interest of the children moving forward and really in keeping with the overall philosophy of mental healthcare, in trying to move people to the least restrictive care possible," said Amy Lorentzen McCoy, Public Information Officer for DHS.

The 21 girls currently at the home will be moved in the coming weeks, pending court approval. The employee layoffs are effective January 16.

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