As a volunteer at the Iowa Juvenile Home library, I was impressed with the way staff helped the students to heal from their troubled pasts. I saw how the kids were taught to help each other meet the goals of treatment. I met girls whose school experiences had included lots of moves and lots of failure and saw how proud they were to receive a high school diploma or GED or even to read a book for the first time.
With taxpayer resources going to the IJH campus in recent years, I hoped it finally would become the excellent program these troubled kids deserve. Then the operating budget was cut several times, the student population shrank, staff seemed frustrated with the dwindling resources, and now there is the threat of closure.
Girls are resilient. If given a chance, they will become good mothers and good residents of Iowa. The IJH has offered “one more chance” for generations of children and has often been successful. Closing it is a mistake and a disservice to Iowa’s girls.