UPDATE: Group won't stop fighting Iowa Juvenile Home closure - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Group won't stop fighting Iowa Juvenile Home closure

Posted: Updated:
TOLEDO (KWWL) -

Tonight, they're all gone.

All youth have been transferred out the Iowa Juvenile Home (IJH), according to Department of Human Services spokesperson Amy McCoy.

Without the children, you might think the group fighting the closure would give up. You would be wrong.

"No, there's no surrender in Tama or Toledo today, but there's a firm vow to fight and make sure that their side of the story is told," said Dave Nagle, a representative of the Keep IJH Open group.

This comes after Gov. Terry Branstad ordered the Toledo home be shut down following allegations of abuse by staff, and controversy surrounding the use of isolation cells.

The facility is scheduled to close on Thursday. Nagle said it will be a huge blow to the 93 staff members that will lose their jobs.

"A lot of them here devoted their lives and careers to helping these young people, and now they've been told, 'I'm sorry, it's all over,'" Nagle said. "So it's really like being at the funeral before they put the body in the casket."

The home has been in Toledo since 1920.

In his Condition of the State address Tuesday, Branstad spoke of revitalizing abandoned schools.

"Yet, some of the schools and public buildings that used to be a source of pride are now empty shells dotting the landscape of our community," he said.

With the closure, there is one more structure to add to that list, but Nagle hopes not for very long. He thinks they still have a chance to bring the children back home.

"We're going to keep fighting," he said. "Kids' lives are still at stake, and the people I speak for are not going to quit."

Nagle said they think the issues at the facility could have been solved with more oversight from the Department of Human Services, not closure. He also said much of the negative information about the facility was taken out of context.

Representatives of "Keep IJH Open" are meeting with Iowa Legislators in Des Moines on Jan. 23.

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