Children transferred to emergency shelters following Juvenile ho - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Children transferred to emergency shelters following Juvenile home closure

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TOLEDO (KWWL) -

Four children transferred out of the Iowa Juvenile Home did not have permanent placements and were sent to emergency shelters, according to Department of Human Services (DHS) officials.

Though the shelters are overseen by DHS, they do not have the same resources as more permanent solutions, according to Amy McCoy, a spokesperson for DHS.

"It would not be the same package of resources," McCoy said. "Again, that's one of the decisions, why we would want these shelter stays to remain short-term so that we can get them to the locations that they will be able to evaluate their individual needs."

As of Thursday night, three children remain in temporary shelters. Two have been there for 11 weeks. Another child is approaching three weeks, and the last child was placed for three weeks, then released.

McCoy said three of the children are in the foster care system, and one was deemed delinquent due to criminal activity.

The temporary placements were in facilities across the state. McCoy clarified that they are not homeless shelters.

Rick Vanenga is the co-owner of Families First Counseling Services in Waterloo. They contract with DHS, and he couldn't speak about the Toledo situation. However, he did explain the importance of consistency of care for children.

"We find that kids can struggle with forming healthy relationships if they've moved all over the place," Venenga said. "You know, they struggle with their academics, struggle with their self-worth and trust of adults, just because at this point they are moved around."

He said in his experience, the DHS recognizes the gravity of transfers.

"The Department knows how important it is to have success and stability in our placements with our kids," he said.

In several conversations with DHS officials today, I repeatedly asked why the children were moved without a permanent plan, but did not receive a straight answer.

93 employees were laid-off when the facility closed. Employees are still pushing to re-open the facility.

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