The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

December 18, 2013

Closing home for juveniles is right call

(Continued)

These are among the many details that now need to be sorted out. The task force is necessary to make sure that happens. Iowans should have assurances there is monitoring of not only the girls moved from Toledo now, but all children who enter state care in the future.

For at least 17 years, Toledo used seclusion as a way to control children, sometimes in violation of court orders. Warehousing kids in concrete cells for days and weeks at a time deprived already troubled girls of education and socialization.

Debates in the Legislature about closing the facility would have wrongly ended up focusing on the loss of state jobs in rural Iowa. Instead, the focus needs to be on doing what’s right by Iowa kids who are in the custody of the state. The state must provide them with the best treatment and education possible. Toledo couldn’t provide it.

Now it’s up to the Branstad administration to ensure better care is provided elsewhere. That will require money, transparency and involvement of the task force.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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