A five-member task force appointed to review conditions for the teenage girls in the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo has released its report. The group recommends new oversight of the facility from some sort of licensing board or third party.
The home is currently run by the Iowa Department of Human Services and has space for 57 delinquent youth. The task force is calling for building a new facility for just 20 girls. The group suggests lawmakers should provide more money to private facilities that provide care for troubled teenagers who can’t stay in foster care, but can’t go home to their parents.
Advocates for teenage girls in the Iowa Juvenile Home discovered last December some girls were being held in seclusion cells for months at a time and weren’t keeping up with their schooling. The task force recommends year-round classes for the teens at the home and new “quiet rooms…for girls who must be removed from the general population for safety.”
Some of the teens at the home have been aggressive toward others or have harmed themselves and in addition to solitary cells, some of the girls were physically restrained, but according to the Department of Human Services staff are being trained to use new ways of “redirecting behavior.”
The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services says a separate report about the Iowa Juvenile Home’s education plans for its residents was “sobering.”