Former residents praise judge's IJH ruling - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former residents praise judge's IJH ruling

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TOLEDO (KWWL) -

Former residents of the Iowa Juvenile Home praised a judge's decision to re-open the facility.

Governor Branstad closed the facility in January. Wednesday, a judge ruled that was illegal, referencing a section of the Iowa Code that mandates the State operate the facility.

Misty Lucas lived at the Toledo Home from 1994 to 1997. She said like so many others, several struggles brought her there.

"Just being poor in a single-parent household and being moved around from family to foster care," Lucas said. "Just no stability in my childhood."

The next part of her story is pretty common among former residents I've met.

"I didn't like it when I got there," Lucas said. "I hated it. I was very anti-authority."

At least, at first. But she said her time at the facility changed her for the better.

Former resident Tamara Stedman said she saw politics at work in the closure.

"It just seems that there was something else going on," Stedman said. "The governor made a very quick decision."

Branstad's office maintains the facility was closed in the best interest of the children. I asked if they plan to appeal the judge's decision.

"Our office is reviewing the ruling and working with the Attorney General’s office to explore all options," said Jimmy Centers, Branstad's Communications Director.

Lucas, with first-hand experience of the place, was heartbroken when she heard it was closing. But with the judge's decision, she sees a glimmer of hope.

"I think it's great, it's a stepping stone," she said. "But I don't think it's over. I think the fight is still going to keep going."

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