Senators ask ombudsman to investigate Toledo Juvenile Home abuse
DES MOINES — Two state senators have asked the Iowa Office of Ombudsman to conduct an independent investigation to ensure the safety and well being of youth residing at the Toledo Juvenile Home.
Sen. Amanda Ragan, chair of the Senate Human Resources Committee, and Sen. Jack Hatch, chair of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, sent the formal request to Ruth H. Cooperider, Iowa’s Ombudsman, on Monday.
“The problem is not one or two low-level employees,” said Ragan. “Management is responsible for the policies that created and used these isolation rooms. That’s why we need an independent investigation to keep children safe and to prevent this from happening again.”
Hatch said the governor and his department directors “should feel a tremendous responsibility for any child in the direct care of a state institution.
“After all, they are directly responsible for overseeing the managers at Toledo,” said Hatch.
The senators have asked the Ombudsman’s office to seek the answers to the following questions:
• What are the home’s and Department of Human Services’ policies and rules concerning the use of physical constraints and isolation rooms?
• Who drafted and approved the policies/rules?
• Have the policies/rules changed over time?
• How were/are these policies communicated with employees of the Home?
• Has adequate training been provided to employees concerning the implementation of these policies?
• How do the policies compare to State laws and regulations?
• Have policies been implemented that are counter to court orders?