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Judge Orders Iowa Juvenile Home To Reopen

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (Photo By: Steve Pope/Getty Images)
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (Photo By: Steve Pope/Getty Images)
Supporters fighting to keep the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo open have won a big battle in court. In an unprecedented move on Wednesday (February 5, 2014), a Polk County District Court judge ordered the facility to be reopened less than a month after it was shuttered by order of Governor Terry Branstad.

In his ruling, Judge Scott D. Rosenberg ruled that Branstad over-stepped his authority when he ordered the home closed. Rosenberg ruled that the Governor’s action was unconstitutional because he signed the appropriations bill that allocated nearly $9 million to operate the home through June. Rosenberg wrote that the if the governor wanted the facility closed, he also could have rejected that part of the bill by using his “line-item” veto power.

Last month, some Democratic lawmakers filed a lawsuit against Branstad, claiming the Governor’s action was illegal. They went to court last week to seek an injunction to reopen the home, which closed on January 15, 2014.

Branstad ordered the home closed after officials admitted to locking up teens in long-term isolation rooms and failing to provide proper educational services.

When the home closed, 93 employees were laid off and residents were relocated to other shelters.

Built on a 27-acre campus in Toledo, the Iowa Juvenile Home was founded in 1920. In recent years, the facility has served both female delinquents and male and female foster children.

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