Delinquent Girls' Treatment Debated

Feb 18, 2015

Juvenile court officers are painting a bleak picture for delinquent girls since the state’s training school closed.   

But some involved with the girls' treatment say they are doing fine without the home. 

The Iowa Supreme Court hears arguments next week in a lawsuit against Governor Branstad for closing the Girls State Training School in Toledo. State lawmakers heard conflicting accounts of how delinquent girls are getting along now that placement at the home is no longer an option. 

Juvenile court officers say as many as 40 girls would have been referred to the Toledo home in the months since the governor ordered it closed. Instead, officials say many are waived to adult court or are spending more time in jail.  

Judicial branch spokesman David Boyd says delinquent girls need the kind of treatment boys are getting at the Eldora State Training School.

“That is still a missing service,” Boyd says, "and a missing link."

Officials at the Iowa Department of Human Services disagree. 

“That level of care is not necessary,” says DHS administrator Wendy Rickman. “The girls who otherwise would have been sent to the training school are receiving appropriate services.”

Rickman says out of state placement of delinquent girls has remained stable. The state ombudsman has concluded the girls who were placed elsewhere when the home closed were treated properly.