Branstad Won’t Open Juvenile Home Until Renovated

The chairman of the task force Governor Terry Branstad asked to review the Iowa Juvenile Home’s operations last year says the facility is “unsafe” and should not be reopened without significant renovations.

The governor Thursday asked the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn a district court judge’s order that the Iowa Juvenile Home for girls be reopened. Jerry Foxhoven, the chairman of the task force Branstad asked to review the home’s operations last year, says the living conditions on that Toledo campus are “terrible.”…

“The cottages are old, old, old.”

According to Foxhoven, the state would refuse to license any privately-run facility that had the same kind of living conditions…

“The place where the girls, or the children and youth would live would be up on the second floor which virtually nobody would say in today’s world that kids who are self-harming (themselves) ought to have a stairway,” Foxhoven says. “…There is conduit hanging from the ceiling that they could hang themselves from.”

Former Congressman Dave Nagle, a Toledo native who has volunteered to be an advocate for reopening the home, questions why Governor Branstad hadn’t asked legislators to provide money to fix the facilities.
“I’m, you know, shocked to find out today that we’ve discovered that this facility is unsafe,” Nagle says, “and I would only ask what the Branstad Administration and others have been doing for 30 years, allowing those kids to be in there, if it’s so unsafe.”