July 11, 2014

State Training School for Boys under scrutiny

The organization that blew the whistle on abuses at the Iowa Juvenile Home for girls in Toledo is investigating another state-run institution for teenagers.

Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, says her watchdog group is looking at the education services at Eldora. The Eldora State Training School is for boys between the ages of 12 and 18 who’ve been charged with a crime and sent to the Eldora facility rather than to prison.

“Once again, it’s not educators running the school,” Hudson says. “There were lots and lots and lots of problems with the school at Toledo. We think, since it’s the same people operating it, there may problems at Eldora as well.”

The State Training School for Boys and the now-closed Iowa Juvenile Home for teenage girls have both been under the jurisdiction of the Iowa Department of Human Services. Governor Terry Branstad says he agrees with Disability Rights Iowa that Eldora’s operation should be scrutinized, but he’s not calling for closure of the facility.

“I think it would be appropriate to look at all of our institutions and are they meeting the needs of the children that are placed there and is there better options or alternatives, so I’m not advocating that we change or close that institution,” Branstad says.

Branstad and Hudson made their comments during recent appearances on Iowa Public Television.