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Parent Information

Youth Orientation 

When your son or daughter is admitted to the detention center the following will happen:

  • They will shower and their clothing and other personal items will be inventoried and placed in a personal property bag. Money will be documented and placed in a secured area.  Youth will be issued clean underwear, t-shirt, shoes, socks, and a jumpsuit; females will also receive a bra.
  • The youth will then be escorted to one of three wings and assigned a room.

  • He/she will be given a Juvenile Handbook and the basic rules and expectations will be explained to him/her. There will be an opportunity for your son or daughter to ask questions.

  • A staff person will be assigned to work with your son or daughter to develop an individualized care plan. The same staff person will serve as your child’s advocate while he/she is a resident at the detention center.

  • The nurse and nurse practitioner will see your child at the earliest possible time to receive a physical and assessment of medical needs.

  • He/she will then join the group for regular activities.

Health Services

The medical department is staffed by one full time and one part-time nurse and an advanced nurse practitioner who visits the facility once per week. Nurses are responsible for obtaining pertinent medical information and history, and overseeing all medications.  If you have a question regarding your child's medical care while in detention, please call (515)286-3344 and ask to speak to the nurse. 

Educational Services 

While in Detention youth receive educational programming through Heartland AEA's Shelter Care Educational Program (SCEP).  This program serves at-risk students by providing an effective learning environment that meets the students' individual needs while they are staying at a shelter/detention facility. 

Shelter Care teachers and students have the same access to instructional supports as regular classrooms in the Heartland AEA area, including online resources, books and materials.  

If you have a question about your child's education while they are in Detention, you may contact the Heartland AEA teaching staff at (515) 262-1421.

Meals & Nutrition

The Polk County Juvenile Detention Center participates in the National School Lunch Program, Breakfast Program and After School Care Program administered by the Iowa Department of Education, Bureau of Nutrition Programs and Health Services.  This program provides a nutritious meal that contains at least one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of necessary nutrients.  Meals are prepared on-site.  Residents receive three (3) balanced meals per day plus an evening snack.

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Unless otherwise required for medical or religious purposes, all students are provided with the same menu items. Meals are served at the following times:

Breakfast:  7:40 a.m.
Lunch: 11:40 a.m.
Dinner: 4:45 p.m.
Snack: 8:00 p.m.

Civil Rights in Child Nutrition Programs

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement (English)

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement (Spanish)

Visits & Phone Calls 

Click here for information about Visits and phone Calls.

Parent Information Handbook

The Parent Information Handbook was created to help answer some of the questions that you may have while your child is detained.  If you still have questions after reviewing the handbook, please feel free to contact the Detention Program Administrator, Dan Larson, at 515-286-3344 or by e-mail at Dan.Larson@polkcountyiowa.gov.


Due to COVID-19, visits have been temporarily suspended. Parents/guardians may contact the Program Administrator, Dan Larson at (515) 286-2100 to arrange for a virtual visit.