A district court judge has ruled the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo should be reopened.
The judge ruled Governor Branstad over-stepped his authority when he ordered the home closed in mid-January. Four Democrats in the legislature and the president of the union that has represented the home’s workers filed the lawsuit challenging the closure. AFSCME president Danny Homan said in a written statement the governor should “immediately comply” with the judge’s order and reopen the home. House Democratic Leader Mark Smith is calling on Branstad to work with legislators on a bill that would improve services for the state’s most troubled teens, including girls sent to the Juvenile Home.
One of Governor Branstad’s top administrators told legislators on Monday the state should take steps to ensure there’s an option like the Iowa Juvenile Home for delinquent teenage girls who would otherwise be sent on to adult court.
A spokesman for the governor says Branstad believes his decision “was in the best interest of the children.” Staff in the governor’s office are reviewing the ruling with the attorney general’s office “to explore all options” — including appealing the judge’s order to a higher court.
(This story was updated at 4:00 p.m. with additional information.)