Gov. Branstad Defends Closure of Juvenile Home

The exterior of the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo, as seen at a meeting of the governor's task force on the facility on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (Charlie Litchfield/Des Moines Register)

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By Aaron Hepker

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he stands by his decision to close the Iowa Juvenile Home despite criticism from legislators.

Speaking Friday on the public television program "Iowa Press," Branstad argued that there had been too much emphasis on protecting the juvenile home when the focus should be on what's best for the children.

Branstad closed the facility in Toledo on Jan. 15 following allegations that teens were improperly treated and denied a proper education. The home housed some of Iowa's most troubled girls.

The governor says other institutions in the state can better serve the needs of teens previously housed in the home.

Democrats plan to file legislation and have joined a lawsuit in an effort to reopen the home.

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