With no clients left, Iowa Juvenile Home sends most laid-off employees home early

Supporters plan to continue fight to keep facility operating

Rick Smith
Published: January 15 2014 | 4:30 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:10 am in

The Iowa Juvenile Home’s last resident left on Tuesday, and as a result, Wednesday was the last day of work for most of the facility’s 93 staff members.

Their layoffs are effective Thursday, Jan. 16, and laid-off employees will be paid through that date, Amy McCoy, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Human Services, said on Wednesday.

McCoy said many employees finished up on Wednesday and not Thursday because there were no more clients at the facility. The departures, she said, were conducted according to the protocol spelled out in the employees’ collective bargaining agreements.

Iowa State Patrol troopers were at the facility to provide security if needed, and some trooper presence will continue at the facility for an undetermined period, McCoy said. No one was escorted from the grounds, she said.

McCoy said six of the 93 employees have transferred into other state jobs and five have retired. Seven will remain at the facility for now for upkeep and records management.

“The best interest of the youth remains the top concern for the Iowa Department of Human Services,” she said. “The department is committed to serving the type of youth historically served by the Iowa Juvenile Home, whether through private providers, state institutions or by offering services and supports through their own family and community.”

Late last week, McCoy said Toledo had discharged 48 residents, mostly girls, since July 1.

Of those, 15 have returned home; 14 have gone to group care; six to detention, including the Linn County Detention Center; four to shelter services; three to psychiatric medical institutes for children; two to family foster homes; one to independent living; one to a waiver home; one to a state mental health institute; and one to the State Training School at Eldora.

Some employees still hope to talk to lawmakers about the Juvenile Home’s closure, and four Democratic lawmakers and the state’s public employees’ union have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Terry Branstad’s decision to close the facility.

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