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MacLaren Hall Children's Center: Los Angeles' Dirty Secret

Updated on June 18, 2016

MacLaren opened more than 40 years ago as a short-term sanctuary for children removed from abusive homes. Over the years, however, the El Monte center served more as a warehouse for as many as 300 children at a time. Some remained for a year or more. Allegations of overcrowding, abusive discipline, overmedication and horrible living conditions brought about numerous legal actions and reports by other agencies as well as children's rights groups. MacLaren Hall housed 4,000 children yearly in the 1960s. It was open for six decades. Tens of thousands of children resided at MacLaren Hall over the decades and over a million children have been through the American child protection system. MacLaren Hall was intended to house foster children for just a few days or weeks. However, MacLaren quickly became overcrowded, blending the mentally ill, delinquent and abused youths with little to no supervision. Children frequently ran away, and violent outbursts were usual. Violent and potentially dangerous children were housed in the same halls as others, such as abuse victims, which proved to be a very damaging combination.

MacLaren Hall was led by inadequately trained staff. Many children were reported to be repeatedly abused by staff and by the other children at the facility. Much of the abuse was even worse as compared to the abuse that brought them there in the first place. In reality, during that time period, Los Angeles County's Emergency Shelter was no different than most County Emergency Shelters in America where abuse was widespread and staff were inadequately trained and not trained to work with youth with mental health issues and special needs.

The facility shut down in June 2003. Jazzmon, 16, is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit claiming that staff at MacLaren Hall injured numerous children while trying to restrain them. The county denies the charges and says incidents of children injuring staff was much more prevalent. Many of the juvenile records that revealed the abuse at MacLaren Hall were apparently either destroyed or lost. It is hard to imagine a system this corrupt existed for so long in Los Angeles. What is worse is that not only did the county fails the children who were sent there, it refuses to take responsibility. Children who were taken from their homes, many who had already suffered some form of abuse, were then re-abused, but this time with the one who was supposed to protect. Any form of child abuse is unacceptable, but this goes above and beyond. These children were taken from their homes, stripped of their possessions, and forgotten about. Essentially, these children were robbed of their childhoods and for many never given a chance.

Children have suffered at the hands of MacLaren Hall for years and years. Children were sexually abused, beaten, and emotionally abused as well. Children were given medication, often times medication that was not even needed. Children were treated like animals and forced to live in conditions that were filthy and unsanitary. Thousands of children were removed from homes that were abusive and traumatizing, only to be abused and traumatized again once they entered MacLaren Hall. The fact that this went on from the 1960s up until 2003 is absolutely appalling. How could this have happened? Currently in Los Angeles County, there are 28,000 children in foster care. Today in Los Angeles County there is a huge lack of foster homes where children can be safely placed. Children younger than 12 are generally sent to the Children's Welcome Center on the campus of the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. This facility is equipped with a large open space, cribs for infants and cots for other children. This facility has the capacity for as many as 29 children sleeping over on some nights. Since there is often times not enough staff to feed and diaper the large number of children who enter the facility, the department recently issued an emergency plea for community volunteers to help. Older children are harder to place in foster homes and are typically sent to a conference room in a high-rise building south of downtown Los Angeles, where they sleep on the floor or cots.

Babies and children suffering from abuse is a hard pill to swallow. The fact that this happened time and time again in Los Angeles is absurd. It is hard to believe that this actually happened. Maclaren Hall is a secret that Los Angeles has done a pretty good job of hiding. Many people to this day are not aware of what happened. Many of the abused children, now adults are not able to even recall where they were abused, just as they were indeed abused.

Many of the lawsuits did not seek financial damages, but only change. An investigation conducted by the county of Los Angeles and cost $355,531 revealed that

(1) Children were staying at the Maclaren Hall sometimes more than a year, even though the county of Los Angeles is required to place children within 30 days,

(2) Delinquent children, and children who were violent and emotionally disturbed were housed with dependent children.

(3) Staff members restrained children, regardless, of a policy that restricts restraining children and

(4) Children suffered injuries which included 11 children that had their arms broken or were slammed into the ground or furniture,

(5) unlawful strip searches of children were performed on a routine basis.

Many of the juvenile records that revealed the abuse at MacLaren Hall were apparently either destroyed or lost. Numerous people have requested their records only to be denied. MacLaren Hall housed not only severely abused children, but also juvenile offenders all packed into the prison like setting. In the mid-1980s, MacLaren faculty members were criminally prosecuted and fired for selling drugs and abusing children. In 1997, a 12-year-old MacLaren boy died after inhaling fumes from a can of hair mousse.

Maclaren Hall sat on 10 acres. The facility consisted of a campus, school, infirmary, administrative offices and cottages. Maclaren Hall quickly became overcrowded, which only increased violent outbursts and chaos. Housing emotionally disturbed, suicidal, and violent children with the other children shows the deliberate lack of concern and wellbeing for these children.

There have been numerous accounts by former residents of children being examined, over-medicated, taunted by staff, restrained, and beaten. Many have reported about numerous rapes and molestations by both staff and other residents. PTSD, depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide are just a few psychological maladies these former residents are suffering from today. As adults, they are still haunted by trauma they experienced at MacLaren Hall.

Children released from probation facilities who had no family or anywhere to go, were housed together with children released from psychiatric hospitals, those who were suicidal and developmentally delayed. The employees were cruel. They dragged small children as well as infants around by their hair, legs, arms, or ears. Babies and small children could be heard screaming and crying throughout the night. MacLaren Hall had become a dumping ground for the most undeserving. Many of the children would AWOL from the facility, only to be found and returned. The majority of the children there were classified as “hard to place”, or “unadoptable”.

Many survivors of MacLaren Hall share similar stories. A man who had been at MacLaren Hall in the 1960’s, has spent close to his whole life in incarcerated. Another MacLaren Hall survivor wrote about their partner who had also been at MacLaren Hall. Her partner committed suicide in 2003. The woman shared that her partner spoke about MacLaren Hall often and had a lot of emotional issues and unresolved trauma which inevitably resulted in her suicide. After close to 6 decades of abuse and devastation, MacLaren Hall closed its massive sky-high prison-like doors in 2003. The threatening, demoralizing building remains. Uninhabited. Hauntingly empty. However the memories are still there. For every child who was forced to walk those halls, the painful memories will always be there. Trauma and abuse cannot be reversed. These children have scars, both physical and emotional. There are no words to make any of it go away. Something needs to be done to fix the Foster Care system. We cannot remove children who are being abused just to abuse them all over again. There needs to be less institutions, and more homes to place these broken children. They need more services and they need social workers who will fight for their wellbeing.

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    • Jr Spears profile image

      Jr Spears 5 days ago

      I know ppl in this room knows me hit me ig or FB

    • profile image

      Jamal 6 days ago

      I was there off and on for 5 years being being abused in all kind of ways tied up lock in rooms so excessive force and in all kinds of ways

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 8 days ago from Scranton

      Its interesting that the places that were apart of the Foster Care System are all closed but the Juvenile system is still making big money.

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      Steven Hunt 10 days ago

      I was there between 1987-1988. I remember being in J cottage I believe, for the 13-15 year old boys. I saw staff beating on some of the "bad" kids plenty of times. It was horrible enough to watch and hear the screams, that alone kept me in line.

      I pretty much kept to myself, did well in school there, and kept my room clean along with my roommates. I got into a few fights.. being the white boy among a bunch of black kids (who I hung around with) made me a good target. Some of the kids there called me Casper, guess cause of being white.

      We had a talent competition once and I remember one of the kids in my cottage doing a Bobby Brown song and getting some attention for it. Tina Yothers from Family Ties came and visited us a couple times.

      I had met and befriended a girl there where we really clicked and became good friends. When I was assigned to a placement in Long Beach, we kept touch a little here and there, but eventually lost contact when she was moved somewhere. I can't remember her name now, but she was a black female... wish I would had kept in better contact.

      I'm glad that hell hole is shut down. Sorry to hear others had much worse experiences than I did. That time at MacLaren and at Long Beach Youth Home really impacted me. When in the military, I had flash backs of the stress and anxiety that I felt while in placement and it really made things tough for me.

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      Valerie Jones 5 weeks ago

      I am a victim. I was there from 1998-2002 off and on. Worst place ever. To this day I have such bad PTSD I'm barely learning to drive and I'm 33 and I haven't worked in almost ten yrs due to anxiety and depression. I was in J and K cottage. I cottage was the bad girls they say. Who remembers Rec night, Momma Lisa and Momma Rochelle

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      Renee 6 weeks ago

      I was there in 1965/66. I was about 5 or 6 years old. I have very, very sad memories there, but I somehow have "gotten over it". My siblings have not. My big brother refused to go to school because they wouldn't allow him to see his siblings (We were 6. The twins were still in cribs). They put him in solitary confinement as punishment and he became suicidal at age 8. He still can't talk about the time we spent there without getting very upset. Another brother who was just 4 years old has physical scars where they threw hot tea on him because he wouldn't eat his broccoli. Reading the comments from some of the others who were there brought back so many memories. Their stories are so familiar.

    • julia6882 profile image
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      Julia Walrath 7 weeks ago from Torrance, CA

      Elijahtonnie thank you for your comment!

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      Elijahtonnie 7 weeks ago

      Look. I do understand the pain you guys suffer. I was in j cottage in 1999, left there and came back in 2002. When I was there. I was a gang member. I remember we played football on the field, went to school, the gym and the game room. Had my fights alot. The girls was getting pregnant by staff is all I heard. I'm sorry for u all that had to go through that. If I would have heard anybody being hurt. We would have been there. We would have fought the staff for you.

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 8 weeks ago from Scranton

      I am sorry to hear that most of you were there in dark times. I was there off and on from 89-93. I saw a lot of bad things but yet I got to see a lot of positive things. I was different since I was more than a leader and not a follower. I was one of the very few who experienced both the DCS and probation and MH was by far a cake walk for me. I do not care who the child was the abuse was real but staff and even the residents knew they could pick on the weak. I am older and wiser and the system is worse now more than ever.

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      Daniel Sheppard 2 months ago

      The work of a true journalist! Excellent research... brilliant over-view.

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      Carmen Vasquez 3 months ago

      MacLaren Hall is where i got rapped for the first time.I forgot his name.he worked I cottage.in the early.80's.he would come and take me out of my bed a do things to me.when i try to tell they would bend my arm way back.and lock me in a room for hours.if they heard me cry.they would come beat me.the few time's i went to court.I would AWOL.and when they bring me back.i would get beat.they wouldn't let me and my twin brother.who was in jr boys.are my little sister who was in pixices.see eachother.they treated my brother worse because he was mentally ill.i had 2 broken arm's a broken leg.to this day.i trust no one.I can't be in a room with the door close.

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      Willie Marquez 3 months ago

      As a child sometimes you don't have a choice. When i was in Maclaren Hall @ the age of 8 children would talk about going awol, i thought it would be impossible to escape the facility surrounded by a 25-30 foot wall. One day us kids that were good were rewarded a field trip to an opera. Most would think an opera would be boring but to us it was excitement. During the opera a kid named Allen who was sitting to the right of me who also shared dorms with me nd my brother told me that he was going Awol nd if i wanted to join him but i refused. Allen didn't know that earlier that year i had ran away from a foster home and didn't gain anything but back into the system. The social worker who placed me under foster care told me that the foster home was my new home but i didn't agree with him wich led me to running away with my lil brother. With "only the lonely" by Pat Benatar repeating in my head, remembering the foster mom freaking out during our depressing stay because i threw a rock through the neighbors window while outside playing. Back @ the Oprah, Allen had climbed over the seat and very sneaky he slowly crawled away, Quickly I looked @ the councilor but he wasn't paying attention. Soon after the opera was over they did a head count, Allen was nowhere to be found. The police searched the building as we we're just watching, me thinking that Allen was on route home but didn't say shit. The next day @ Maclaren Hall Allen was back, rumors were that his parents returned him. The end dorm room was a little room for punishment, the room had no window but only a door to go in and locked, my dorm was next door. Through the thick of the walls i remember @ the end of the wall there was a little gap, i can see Allens little hand reaching out to me hearing his voice in an echo. RUNNING AWAY IS NOT A PROBLEM BUT WE'RE WILL YOU GO? SOMETIMES IN LIFE YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE BEST OF THINGS (my childhood) 

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      Christine Lafromboise 3 months ago

      I remember that song. I was there in 84. I remember being scared when I got there. I never had any problems there but do remember other kids treated poorly. There were beds in the hallways. I was there for Christmas and we got gifts. We would play bingo and I remember we would win nice things. I was there the longest out of my three sisters. I was the oldest of my three sisters. I was 11 when I was there. I stayed in the system until I was 19. I can't believe I got through it all. I'm glad this place is closed.

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      Reyes Garcia 3 months ago

      I was there In 79 and 80. I was around 5 years old my first time. Then back again at 7. I remember everything. Staff made me fight beat me up and put me in straight jackets. Who else remembers when Michael Jackson came to mh? I remember when one cottage would walk by another cottage, if someone stepped out of line that meant someone from the cottage had to fight them. In my cottage I was only 5 and my cottage and I would run from all the staff and it would take hours to catch us all. I was one of the kids who got my arm broken. We we're on a tricycle and went rolling down the hill. 11 kids on this tricycle and I broke my arm on it. I remember if u we're good we got to go to the park. And we would sing this song “ we're in mclarin hall, we fight between the walls, we scream and shout, we never get out, we're in mclarin hall" I m a survivor of mclarin hall. If u remember me or any of my stories. Email or comment back. Jray1940.rg@gmail.com

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      Alexis B. 3 months ago

      I lived right down the street from MH as a child. I remember looking through the keyhole of the side gate and seeing a huge playground and hearing the children playing. we use to see children on top of the huge concrete walls trying to get down. I'll never forget the teenage boy that knocked on our door asking my mother for a cup of water. she gave him water and something to eat. later on the police went from door to door asking if we had seen him and telling my mom he was from MH. It is absolutely heartbreaking to know the children I use to see through the keyhole playing in the playground were treated so badly. That place needs to be shut down and demolished.

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      Tamiko Bandy 3 months ago

      I started out on Jr. Girls, then I was a senior girl I never was sexually abused but I was retrained and lock up by male staff, had many fights, and I often AWOL ed to get away from this prison it was an emotional rollercoaster 1985-1989

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      Venetia Kelley 3 months ago

      I was there in the '70's. I remember being housed in a room, locked away by myself...watching out the wired window...looking at the peacocks. Thank-You God...for the peacocks...and for delivering me from a life of disobedience, crime, drugs, bad decisions and bad relationships. Thankful

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      Joanne 3 months ago

      What was the name of MacLaren Hall in the 1950s in Los Angeles, California???

      Was it called Julia Lanthrop Hall (for infants and toddlers) ?????

    • Ron Carpenter profile image

      Ron Carpenter 4 months ago

      i was there from '78-85 and it was the worst experience of my life,the one thing i'll NEVER forget is the armbar hold the staff would use to control us,,mr adams was famous for this move.

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      Marilyn 6 months ago

      I literally am the veteran grandma for McLaren hall. My first day was approximately 1973. When there was a rotunda and several hallways off of it. I remember being exceptionally scared, but more so of the unknown. Having come from a sexually and physically abusive home, I have to say I felt so much more safe at McLaren hall then I did anywhere else in my childhood. my memories are pleasant, having the opportunity to dance to music, to play baseball on the field, to have a bed to sleep in, was a blessing compared to where I was coming from. I am sorry that others have such A Trumatic memory of their experience. But my seven years in and out of there was always better than all my other placements

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      Phyllis Brown 6 months ago

      Im 37 years old now i was in and out of mac i was the only one who graduated from there in 1998. They had the graduation at Cal State Long Beach for all foster kids who had graduated from placement. I didnt know maclaren had closed down i was also too a victim in there i remember they made me sit in the rr room in urine all day naked couldnt come out at all. There were some good times in there too like when they had the olmpics there wish i still had my medals. I still look the same from when i was in there. How can i get some money because even though im older now i never got my money from when i was in emancipation program and from the lawsuite i wasnt aware that mcclaren had closed down i left there in 1998 the only child who graduated from mcclaren hall i was 18 or 19 at the time. I had it hard in there too i use to get retrained everyday and put into the rr room. Times were i had to go to bed early at 6pm and cant come out for the rest of the night. I was in k cottage i was in I cottage one time never made it to J cottage. All my sisters and brothers went thru mac too which i dont know of . I use to always run out the cottage and run around the Big Field that field was like 2 football field together only time we had to come out and play if you wasnt on restriction stayed on that to. I got to many memorries of being in McClaren Hall

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      Elizabeth Lopez 6 months ago

      I'm attending Mclerin I started today for a parenting class, it is reopen put its for family services. When I arrived it was a dark brick building , huge , and the walls are so high. It does look like a school. One of the students menchined it was a place for bad juveniles but I had to look up the history my self because I love history and I knew something was wrong with that place , I asked my perfessor what it was and I noticed she got serious told me it was a place for foster kids. Crazy I wanna walk around the whole place now but I don't think I can.

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      Confused 6 months ago

      There mustve either been a time when they were working on bettering the facility or i just never experienced the abuse. Because when i was there in the late 80s it was great. They had major functions, lip sync contests, i met Howie Long, Tina Yothers, went on outings to see movies and go miniture golfing...matter of fact, going to Tina Yothers house was an outting. Am they fed us In and Out for lunch. There was a Black Councilor named Napier who was a Vietnam Vet an a very good Man. Also the sister of a well known latino serial killer (Something Rodreiguez) wich we all found morbitly funny because she was so loving and full of hope. Strange. Thank God i was there when it was good. The violents amongst the kids was true though. I often had some of the boys try to bully me but i was the wrong one to try as they found out the hard way. I was left alone after that. Also the run away thing. I was one of those run aways

      I hopped those wals with a girlfreind of mine and never returned to the system till adulthood

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      Claudia Bagwell 8 months ago

      My husband probably lived in this place 6 months before entering in the foster homes program. He told me that he lived there in 1960 or 1961. Today we live in Brazil, but the memories of this time, despite no longer tormenting him, left deep marks. This I can assure you!!! The foster homes system in the USA is very sad, because the impression we have is that many families participate only for the money and do not give enough love, attention and affection to the children. My husband still has a hard time getting close to people. I think this is a reflection of the bad times in his youth, where he have been locked, humiliated and mistreated many times. How can anyone trust people after all these sad experiences? Only with the grace of God, I believe. Sorry for my English... my native language is Portuguese.

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      geegee gill 8 months ago

      omg ive been looking for my friend Sandra Toscano from penny lane 1996 and I think she commented above...if its you call me 2135311307

      as for mac....I was there 3 times in the 1990s and it was pretty shitty...ms. bias was a sadist who loved to break bones and see blood. most of the staff were overweighjt lazy and miserable. the blankets were thin af and the fat night staff would crank up the air. it smelled like institution and stale crotch in there. who remembers quiet time? it boggles my mind that that kind of bs was allowed for so long. I remember the boys staff were scared of them due to retaliation from the abuse so the boys would beat up girls on the field and at school and no one would stop it. shower time was always a blast. theyd get the foulest girl, usually someome fresh outta ya or juvie and make them the "shower monitor" 5 minute limit or the shower monitor rips you out asshole naked. its like funny but not funny. after seeing miss bias restrain someome I never dealt with staff out of fear of getting my hand broken. she would have staff restrain you and then she'd stand on your hand. the fact that she wore spike heels to work every day was a definite deterrent from doing anything wrong on her shift...one time I was doing a night chore in the restroom and some beast I knew from penney lane homes (which were way worse btw) slammed me against the wall n shoved her tongue down my throat. then she held me by the neck and said "you better not tell" good times.

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      Brandy Rajagh 9 months ago

      I went to MC back in 1978 I was 11 years old. My parents, got a little over the top with the correction. remember this is back when your teacher could hit you. It was like going into a prison, they first striped you naked, in a large shower area, checked you for bugs , sprayed you with bug spray and deloused your hair. now if that doesn't give you the warm fuzzies, this might you we're give one set of clothes, undergarments , socks and shoes. We had a play yard in the area I was in, it was quite muddy, my clothes got dirty, I didn't get clean anything until my court date 3 weeks later. Then I got to where my own clothes. I did enjoy the school though it was subpar, they did try to keep our spirits up by giving us treats like the newest TV kids show group showing up and performing. The actors and actresses seem to really care for us. The place left a bitter taste in my mouth but I can't blame them I have learned to forgive. I am sorry so many had it so bad. LA County should have shut it down sooner.

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      Brian 9 months ago

      I was here a lot. I would always escape. I would climb a tree over the wall until I found out that I can walk right out the front doors if I was quick enough. Lol. I remember all of these places being horrible, that's why I'd escape. I remember one time Rosie Perez came. May you all have a little peace, if even only for a moment.

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      Mark W Thompson 10 months ago

      Steve, I've talked to quite a few people over the years. Seems like there were periods where MacLaren Hall was one of the best places to be and other times where it was horrific. I'm guessing what happened is the horrific times lasted a few years, eventually people (way too slowly) decided to do something about it, and then fixed things for a while. Then the cycle repeated over and over again.

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      Steve 10 months ago

      Some time between 49 and very early 50's I was taken away from my mother. I was about 5 or 6. My older brother 2.5 years older and one 2.5 younger were also sent to the hall. Younger brother left within weeks and older not much after. I was left there for maybe a year. I have memories of only good except family not coming to see me very often. Maybe things were better at the early days of the hall and got worse as the years went by.

    • julia6882 profile image
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      Julia Walrath 11 months ago from Torrance, CA

      So many sad stories over so many years. It's unbelievable that this went on for so long in Los Angeles. It's truly heartbreaking.

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      Michelle 11 months ago

      This facility is still used as an emergency placement for young children but they can only be there for 24hours I researched this place for a paper also and confirmed the rumors I had heard I met a man named Phil who worked as a janitor there in the 80s but was fired for innapropriate contact with a girl there

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      Michael L Reidy 12 months ago

      I am sorry for whatever reason(s) i ended up inside MacLaren Hall at 3 years old. That was 1968. I was locked behind a steel door for weeks. I was eventually transferred to foster homes until i was 18. My own family did this to me. We are left to explain our emotions. To try being understood. To keep going. Yet, who can measure the depths of my pain? This is not directed toward anyone here. It's my first comment ever. I was writing the VA and trying to explain my younger conditioning to Phd's. And many feel they are qualified to say "I understand". Yet in my humble opinion, i feel the vast majority of these "well educated" mental health practitioners are tied up in the murky waters of MH conjecture theories taught as truths.

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      Julia Walrath 12 months ago from Torrance, CA

      I am so sorry any of you had to experience any of this...it truly breaks my heart.

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      MARE 12 months ago

      I was there in the hey day of horrible treatment in 1963, i was 8, thrown on a bare floor with just a mattress, for rocking and crying missing my mother, i disrupted the others and was punished, it still bothers me to this day

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      Francine mathis madukwe 12 months ago

      I remember being there whrn i was about 13 or 14 years old...i remember as one punishment was to have one worker twisting my arm telling me to walk faster as another worker holding my other arm twisting it saying walk slower...when in fact both can hear what the other said only to keep twisting me futher untill i throwing in a bare room that was all white walls and one little skinny mat on floor and no covers or sheets and it was freezing in there for several hours ...i also remember being in a room with a devil worshipper who drew devil signs on the floor ...i dont remember alot except a few things like visitations with my mom was done outside on tables that were being watched and timed..and yes i got my family privileges taken away..i also use to awol from there alot as it was easy to escape the place...i still to this day tell my kids how bad my experience was there. I had met a boy there that i dated and later he went to another placement and i went to another placement in Bakersfield i think and we kept riding each other till the placement decided i should not have any contact with anybody in placements at all...needless to say that placement was no better...there while the parents of the house would visit there friends made the people in placement clean up horse poop and clean sheds out just for us to be slaves. We were not even punished at that time but we had to do chores as if we r punished instead of saying we can have a outing to have fun like they did..then another placement in eagle rock made us set tables as if we live in a rich home certain forks being placed in certain ways and spoons and napkin being folded a certain way ..they let there real children do whatever they wanted spoiling them making us do all chores after we get out of school then start chores as we got home being timed on hpw long it should take to walk home and if a few mins late being grounded..then after chores we did our homework then to sleep only to wake up and do it next day same thing monday thru sunday from time u woke up to time u go to bed...there has been other placements because they shuffled me around from placement to placement cause nobody wanted me...i have many horror storys that will take to long to say all...i finally ran away from system and lived on streets with no food or place to sleep or for warmth...but living on street crying myself to sleep in a little shed or old broken down car covering up with a box for to keep me a little warm was still better rhen being in placement.. Im now 44 years old and i could write a book with so much ive been threw...sometimes i think back about my past and thank GOD im still here today to see my kids grow up...maclaren hall will always be my nightmare..

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      Daniel 13 months ago

      My wife talks endlessly about this place. She hasn't been there for at least 21 years but she is still terrified. She was there several times in the 80-90's. I cannot help her. She has been suffering from depression of the events that took place there as long as I have known her. She is at the low end of her depression these days and I truly believe if she decides to take her own life it will be partly because of her experiences. I don't advocate any form of criminal activity but i wish the place would burn down and my wife would get to see it... My wife saw abuse/atrocities occur worse than I ever could imagine. It terrifies ME to hear what she has been through. I dont know that she will ever see the justice but she deserves too..

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      Katrina larson 13 months ago

      I went to mcleran hall when i was 12years old and i was abuse by a staff member. I reported it but nothing was ever done about i grew up running away from all my problems. I am 33years old and still deal with mental health and it so bad that when they put me on medication bsck than i didn't really need it. Now i do becsuse i still have the worst nightmares ever. I was just lucky my froster mom came to my aid because after i move in with her i didn't have to see that horrible place again. Life was still hard for the most part. I am living it today.

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      momemaya 14 months ago

      If anyone was there between 90-94, I was there on and off. In Feb 93 I had chicken pox and my best friend Antionette was killed on "the outs" as we called it. I remember the R&R room. I was put in there after trying to stick up for a friend of mine named Patricia. There was abuse, I didn't see the extent of it as some people have stated here but I believe it. There was one staff member that stood out from the rest. Her name was Robin, I loved her so much! I use to tell her to adopt me and just take me out of there. wishful thinking...anyways I remember the Big Wall...the cottages and at one time the staff members found a gun under one guys bed..There was a lot of gang activity and tagging going on. I miss my friends there because they were all I had, since I didn't have family..anyways if any of you were there and might know me, email me @ momemaya@gmail.com

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      David 14 months ago

      All told, MacLaren Hall was one of the better placements. It was overcrowded, other kids would steal anything you had if they could, and you could set your watch by when a fight broke out but I never felt unsafe there like I did at other placements.

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      James 14 months ago

      I lived in MacLaren Hall in the early 80's. I remember being able to go home for the weekends and my mother pulling large lice out of my head and showing it to the staff. I remember being rounded up and going to school everyday and watching kids being marched back and forth like a concentration camp. Mostly I remember the cells and the big walls. I see today social service treating kids no different. Foster homes not properly equipped, over crowding and neglected, the system pulling kids out of homes make it worse than better. Humans never learn, they just keep doing the same old atrocities in different ways.

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      Catrina salazar 15 months ago

      I am sorry for all of you, I am sorry for me, I am sorry for evey kid that had this stuff happen to them, but as a group, we have to be strong, do better, the best we can anyway, and make the next generation, safe , secure , and most of all, loved, and that is what this generation is responsible to do, to have a successfull next generation, we need to do our best to show this generation that we are different from the latter, and make life for the first a real life, not the clean up we are stuck with now. Are children are "Our feature" and we will have no places like the hall for them, because there will be no need for that nonsense.

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      Angelsflying628@gmail.com 15 months ago

      I was at MH when it was at central and lay in the shadow of general hospital. This was the late 50's early 60's. I was one of several bused to El Monte when it opened. Iam 64 now and have spent more than fifty years in and out of institutions and prisons coast to coast always running from the monsters at MH. Always medicated and unable to inter-act with any other person.

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      Angelsflying628@gmail.com 15 months ago

      Iam David Bruce Lloyd. Mothers name Flora Belle Kephart ne Hamm. I qas at MH late 50's, early 60's. I was bused from MH to El Monte qhen it opened.

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      Catrina Salazar 15 months ago

      I must have been in there when it was the best of time's, it wasn't the Cleaver's by any means, yes we took care of the younger kid's , I personally had one that I took under my wing, like a "mother" in a sense, a little dwarf girl, we all made due like a little family , but that is what Foster's do, have one another's best interest at heart, because we are all we have at that point in our live's, to survive and have a bit of normalcy, the lost boy's , if you will, but I did look forward to seeing my boyfriend Micheal at a girl boy dance, only to be told he was sent to juvinal hall that day, we had just got caught kissing on the grounds by the picnic table, by the wall the day before, his best friend there Nolen,broke the news to me, I was devastated, I actually believe he went to the quiet room till I left ,2 day's or so later, but the real hell for me was alway's the real fosterhome's, the real story's there will make,. Fiction look like fairy tales. I thank you, for this forum to be able to vent to. And In the end, the entire system here, is broken, and need's to be looked at, and revamped, so we are not taking kid's in already bad situation's , that are at least familiar, and putting them in the same situation , if not worse, where they are scared s...less.

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      Catrina salazar 15 months ago

      I was in a few time's in 1983 and 84. Thing's for me in foster home's were way worse than the hall, I was in the honor dorm there, went to magic mountain, got dressed up and went to the musical 42nd street had celebrities visit. Had a boyfriend named Micheal and he had a best friend Nolen, she had volunteer's that came to there to cut our hair, we had a pool, ect. and yes it was a jail like environment. I was so scared for the first few day's I was there, but compared to the actual foster homes I was in a vacation. Our foster care system takes at risk children from an already messed up situation, that is their home, and put's them in way worse , that they don't know, I thought it was to put us in better situations not worse, no wonder we are all messed up.

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      Madeline Menezes 15 months ago

      My Siblings and I were there several times in the early 60's. We ran away twice by digging under the chain-linked fence. It was scary. We were basically power washed with lice soap and our belongings were thrown into the garbage. I certainly don't recall being hungry except at night. My little Sister was with me but they separated us. She cried for me only to be screamed at and hit. One kind lady finally suggested that she be allowed to sleep next to me. We held hands and she finally fell asleep. In the morning I awoke to her snuggled up in bed next to me. She would jump out of my bed before being caught. We were there too long. We saw Peter, Paul and Mary and a fun magician show while there. President Kennedy was killed while we were there. Everyone cried...the staff were distraught. They were very strict but I don't recall them being overly abusive. What I went through living with my mother was abuse. I was the oldest so I received her wrath. I was 5 the first time that I went there. Compared to our home, MH was spotless. The long halls scared me and to this day I dream about them...running and never reaching the end...slow motion with someone chasing me. We went into foster care in 1964 together. Our FP raised us and got legal guardianship. We remained with them until we were adults. When they got sick, we took care of them until their deaths. I recently found half-siblings and Cousins found me. We are searching for our mother as well.

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      Lenize 15 months ago

      It is good to hear that some people did not have the experiences of horror that so many of us did. Virgo Poetry, Mark Thompson and Maureen it is a blessing that you were spared the physical, emotional and mental abuse so many of the children were subjected to. I understand that many like to say "You need to move on and forget the past"! As Simon Weisenthal a Holocaust survivor said, " Allowing humanity to forget the past is asking history to repeat itself". At twelve years of age I was told to report to the medical wing where I was told to help care for 5 children that had been chained in a barn by their foster parents and were in terrible shape. They ranged from 2 yrs. old to 11 years of age and they had been left there without food, water or much human contact, I will spare you the gruesome details, suffice it to say that the look in their eyes is a sorrow that I have carried with me all my life and then to add the proverbial salt they end up in Hell Hall. Perhaps there are some that dont believe how terrible things really were or by Gods grace they had better experiences then most of us. If you have read the 53 plus comments on this site does it not give you pause that 99.9% of the comments are polar opposite of your experinces? I do not know any of these peole, I have never met, or spoken to any of these people and I dare say this is true of most of them yet each of their comments are literally identical to the other. The same abuse. fear, and experiences are told over and over by people who who have never met each other! At times finally having a voice is the only balm available to some of us and speaking the truth is what heals the soul. What breaks my heart is that I was 12 when I was there I am now 67 years old and the system is as bad if not worse than it was. What I fear is that Hell Hall closed but so many new ones have opened that are privatrely owned and they have celebrity involvement and people get starry eyed and the monitoring that should be ever vigilante could be comprimised. The last two children killed in foster homes in our county were placed there by private companies. These companies are paid by the state to handle the lives of abused, innocent children and once placed they do the Nero thing and wash their hands while lives burn. I realilze some may believe I am being too dramatic, but too many of us have lived through this and it cannot be denied. If your time was different thank God and be greatful! Maureen you asked when did this abuse start? The answer is extremely simple, It started when Hell Hall opened and it finally stopped when they closed!!!!! To those who survived, God bless and good journey!

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      Maureen 18 months ago

      My seven siblings and I had to be placed in MacLaren Hall in l962. My father left the home and my mother could not get financial aid and so had to have us placed. We were not removed from our home. It was voluntary on my mother's part. I was nine years old at the time. For me, it was wonderful. I had to sleep on a mattress for a few days but I got a bed with these things called "sheets." And a thing called a "pillow." We were fed very well. Once a week we were brought in a rack of clothing and we got to choose the dress we would wear for the week. They had Bingo nights and I remember it fondly. I think we were there for about a week. We attended school on a daily basis. The teacher could have cared less about the students and they ran a muck. So when did it change? When did the abuse start?

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      Anthony Rodrigues 18 months ago

      I was there around 1984 - 1985...... I have NY stories as well like everyone else. Live life and don't let the past dictate your future .

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      Chuck 19 months ago

      I dont know abot your comments posted above,I was in the hall for six months or so and never experienced the things being posted. I was 15 or so that would put me there in the mid seventies. Made some long time friends, got in some fights, ate poorly,not enough food thats for sure. Even excaped by scaling the wall,was on the run for a few weeks before I got tired of being cold and hungry.Turned myself in to the LAPD and got a week in solitary for my troubles. Not a nice place but I never saw or experienced anything close to what im reading. Central was alot worse, although if you were a little kid it coulda been pretty bad I guess.

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      Mark W Thompson 19 months ago

      Julia6882, I'm not sure you can say that her experience is rare. I too had a reasonably good experience. There were a lot of troubled kids there when I was there over a span of about 2 years in the early 80's but the counselors always tried their hardest to make things work. There were a couple of bad counselors but for the most part they were professional. The reason you probably don't see these posts is because people don't generally post to say how great things were.

      At the same time, I have no doubt that the horrible things mentioned happened. When I was there I always heard about the bad things, broken arms, sexual abuse, but it was about the past. It seems that MacLaren Hall went in cycles, there were really bad times, the County of Los Angeles got wind of it, fixed it and things were good for a while. Then they let things go and they got bad again.

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      Julia Walrath 19 months ago from Torrance, CA

      Virgo Poetry I am very happy that you had a positive experience at MH. However, if you read the comments you will realize that your experience is rare. It would be foolish to discredit the very large number of comments describing the abuse and horror I am positive took place. Again, I am happy you did not have to endure what these other people had to, but please do discredit what they went through. Thank you.

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      VirgoPoetry 19 months ago

      I was in MH in 1985 & 86, I had a great time! We had phone usage, we showered whenever we wanted, we were able to wash our clothes whenever we wanted, we were taken to Disneyland, the beach, we earned points and went to the on grounds store, we had great attentive teachers (not like regular public schools these days), we had in dorm Psychiatrist, the food was great and there was abuse of NO kind- that I saw and I was there for a while. In fact, one of the employee's that was over our dorm had such a tremendous positive influence on me that I even today at 46 years old (I was 15 & 16 then) I consider my time at MH as one of the few best times I've had in my life. The dorms were always kept clean as were the rooms. When any of the children or teens did act out then there was a "quiet room" where they were sent for no more than an hour. I lived in one of the Senior girl dorms. So, all of this negativity that is being stated about MH is not true!! And in reference to the father that stated because his children were "white" that they had been abused by other children there or their shoes and things being stolen- MH had several white children there and we all intermingled the way that society should be- NO COLOR! We were all one in the same! I am not disputing that some of these horrible things may have happened but NOT in the times that I had been there. I have often times thought of going back to MH as a counselor.

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      lenize 19 months ago

      I had posted a comment on this site quite a while ago then looking for some information on Mac Hall I returned to this site after telling some people about my experiences there and when they read the posts they called me and told me that they did not believe those things would ever happen in America and they felt that it was an exaggerated fabrication written by troubled children looking for attention and how could I believe such atrocities would happen in places that were there to protect children. To be sure I reread all the old posts and all of the new ones and called all of these people together and for the first time disclosed the full truth about Mac Claren Hall. I told them not only did those things happen on a daily basis they do not cover the total horror of what happened in that hell hole! I then told them I know this is true because I lived through it, by the age of 11 and 12 years of age I lived there in between horrifying foster homes and then back again Not only is the accusation of every form of abuse true, the mistreatment of the babies, the slave labor, the kids with broken bones and the endless sexual overtures by the staff were disgustings things being done to children in MH and you haven't heard all of it because too many kids lived in abject fear of reprisal if they said anything. What you learned in MH was to watch every move people make so you can protect yourself from intended harm but most of all you learn to distrust everyone. The foster care they sent us to were not any better. There was a family of kids

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      Cedric Johnson 20 months ago

      I was here 1993 to 1995

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      Julia Walrath 20 months ago from Torrance, CA

      I am so sorry Hayley that is so sad. It's pathetic how long this went on for. I am honestly appalled. No child deserves to be treated like that. These children were supposed to be protected and kept safe, and the county failed each and every one of them. Again, I am so very sorry. Thank you for sharing your story.

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      Hayley 20 months ago

      I was there in 2000-2001. That place was a true hellhole. I was in pixie cottage, had my arm broken my 3rd night there, after being told by one staffer to go to H cottage. Well, apparently that was bullshit, and another staffer set out to bring me back. I fought, not knowing who this staffer was, trying to get me to come with them at 8 or 9pm( I was 10, what did I know?) Got a broken arm and no medical care for 7 days.

      I remember being beaten, thrown in R&R, and repeatly attacked by the other girls. Molested by the older boys when at recess, or whatever they called it. I remember one 15 or 16 year old skinny kid pulled me behind the school and ripped my shorts off and tried to rape me, but some other girl followed us and he walked off. Walked back to pixies, and was called a whore (still 10years old!) No love from anyone, no real education. I remember one girl taking my ice cream after church and throwing in at me, and staffers refused to let me shower or change clothes for almost 6 hours.

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      Anna D. 20 months ago

      I was there from late 94 into 95. The staff thought I was a witch so I could not look at anyone for longer then 2 seconds. If I did then I was casting spell on them. I was made to shower when I first got there and I had to have a pelvic exam by a Dr. I did not get hit but I did see it happen to other girls while I lived there.

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      LAURIE COLLINS 21 months ago

      I WAS PLACED AT MAC HALL WHEN I WAS 14 YEARS OLD WHEN I FIRST ARRIVED I WAS STRIPED SEARCH AND FORCED TO HAVE A PELVIC EXAM MY TIME THERE WAS BRIEF THERE WERE CHILDREN WHO WERE IN GANGS I AM NOW 59 YEARS OF AGE

      AND STILL REMEMBER HOW MEAN THE CARETAKERS WERE TO THE CHILDREN

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      DjBluedevil 22 months ago

      Casa Pacifica is the new McLaren Hall in my opinion and I believe this needs to be looked into because things are fishy and I believe it is still going on at Casa...the Hall continued in Camarillo California when Casa Pacifica was made...hhhmmmm how funny McLaren Hall shuts down aand Casa opens up right up the coast...hhmmmmmmmmm.

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      R. Muhammad 22 months ago

      I was at MH from 1984 - 1987 and was a child of the court from 1978 - 1987. MH was like you where lock behind bar there was no freedom and all feeling to feel happy is gone with no love or care. I have very little good time there and I had no understanding for life at 18 year old. Julia it true all record have been destroyed and very little to nothing they can give you. I'm blessed for start a life and change my name for the best for to put MH in past is best for me there just sadness when come to MH..

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      Richard LorenzanA 23 months ago

      Correction... The last paragraph... the next generation will NOT go through what we went through. It's about time Maclaren Children's Center closed down Maclaren Children's Center has its pros and cons in other words there was a lot of rotten apples in one basket need getting rid of but the system never saw it and it was too late. I wish the county supervisors felt our pain and other kids pain too but it was to late. but each other staff was enjoying it hurting those kids. Who knows as they get older maybe those kids will have to take care of them one day never know I still remember those staff like it was yesterday I still remember their faces even when they're older but now I'll just pray for their souls hopefully they've learned their mistakes. I've learn to forgive so I can move on with my life. for Each one of those staff. I just want to look at there look at their faces ask him why what was the reason to hurt one of us.

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      Richard LorenzanA 23 months ago

      When I first arrived at McLaren hall had to see a nurse then take a shower. Coming from gateways hospital & juvie in L.A. coming from a major break down this was my early teens years... then I was escorted to senior boys cottage meeting meeting mr.ross and mr.delgado ms.celo bluego older black lady...while I was in the infirmary I ate something bad due to the food was all that great... around or between 0330 in the morning. I hear little babies crying and little possible 5 year olds crying in pain what it sounds like one of the staff was torturing the kids next room while I was being treated.... till this day I still hear the kids screaming... right now I'm 42 years of a age seeing my doctor made difference. I still remember the R/R Room being thown alot. Even juvenile hall it treated a little better. I remember the tall wall picture of a killer whale with all kinds weird painting on the the side of tall wall is the 605 freeway that my plan to escape due the chaos. The part of McLaren hall they dance partys movie night, actors and actresses visit us. I remember going on outings McLaren had their personal big bus with cartoons character's on both sides of bus. That's all I can remember so far. Mr Moscow always picked on me final way to mess with me... on grounds school Mr Bateman, Mr still and janitor Tyrone last I heard you went to Saudi Arabia due to his military background. Junior Boys Mr Dorsey he put his hands around my neck trying to choke me a few times Jr boys Mr Dorsey he put his hands around my neck try to choke me if you times he's a real jerk of course is Greg the fat guy with a beard he was very abusive I see him breaking kids arms in the R&R room... the staff in Junior Boys they play all kinds of oldies music early in the morning... THIS is all I remember I'm just letting you guys know it's time for me to move on with my life it feels good to let this out all my life have been so angry hate in the world hating people around me now I'm getting too old for this s*** just letting you know what I've been through my life I just hope the next generation will go through it what we all been through. Just certain things I haven't even told my family about McLaren hall they wouldn't understand... no I feel better I can move on with my life.

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      richard LorenzanA 23 months ago

      I was a former resident at McLaren hall Back in 89 and 90 In and out of there More than 3 times I've seen lots of abuse still remember that one staff Greg the fat guy with a beard And Fred Ross from junior boys He used to beat the crap out of me Or have other boys have my face punched in.Yeah I'm over the DJ Derek Richardson He was a real jerkHe punch my face a few times Front of everybodyStill remember like it was yesterday I'm 42 years of ageStill seeing a counselor do to my PTSD J Cottage I have a lot of fights my share fighting J Cottage & G cottage.I was there when Paula Abdul came Natalie Cole Run DMC

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      Mark Thompson 23 months ago

      Angie Waite, don't know if you or your brother remember me, I was in there at the same time as you and your brother Mark (or Marc), never know the spelling. You were in Pixies, he in Sr Boys, and I in Jr Boys. I remember the two of us guys went over to Pixies every afternoon, he to visit you and me to visit my gf at the time. If you're who I think you are, just remember thinking you were the sweetest thing at the time and Mark was an awesome guy. Not the greatest place, but I do remember you and a lot of other awesome kids from what I was in there.

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      Julia Walrath 23 months ago from Torrance, CA

      So sorry for your traumatic experience as a child, it really saddens me that so many children were hurt. Please follow the link, download the form and mail it to the address below for your records. There is no guarantee as I have heard numerous times that all records have been either "destroyed" or lost. You will probably have to follow up. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      You should mail this as certified mail.

      Records Unit

      LA County Counsel, Juvenile Dependency

      201 Centre Plaza Drive STE 1

      Monterey Park CA 91754

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      granny 23 months ago

      I found an article on mh about its closing.i had thought it was closed long ago.

      I was there in 1960-66.it had a rotunda with wings/halls like spokes of a wheel running from it.

      my sister and I were in and out for 5-6 years because of our home situation.we were taken in the middle of the night.you entered the small vestibule to sign in.then you entered a larger area to wait.a woman came to take us to the infirmary for a check up,thorough bath and clothing.[everything in our possession,our home was never seen again].there are no pictures,toys,family heirlooms,nothing.everything was taken away.

      after the bath we waited again until we went to the girls wing.this wing was grouped by age in three sections.at one end of the hall was the 4-8 group.middle was the 9-12 group and the last end was the 13-17 age group.now,the 9-12 girls looked after the little ones.we were kids looking after kids.i know I did my best but some of the other girls were really mean.then the 13-17 whatched the 9-12 girls.

      I remember in class as long as I read a book I was not disturbed.i sat all day,everyday reading nancy drew,crime library which was a mystery series,poe.anything that was there within reach that caught my interest.because of this there is giant gaps in my education.i know I spent three grades in mac that I never learned anything.

      I remember a big man by the name of mr bomb?if anyone remembers him we there in the same decade.

      I am trying to find out how you can get a hold of your records from McLaren hall?from the county?i'm not sure how you go about it.

      I am 61 years old now and live in texas.I have been happily married for 40 years.but I suffered horribly before I could face the world without stark terror.

      I thank you for any information you can provide.

      I can't find a picture of mac from the 1960's.why is that?

      my email is arkose45937@mypacks.net

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      Angie Waite 24 months ago

      I was there along with my siblings in the late 70s i had my arm broken by staff there had been sexual abuse done to children by other staff as well as other children this place is pure hell

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      Eric Brown. 2 years ago

      This place better still be closed.

      And all of survivors that were there in 1980 you remember me I know you do cuz I'm that guy that escaped all of us. They won't ever open that facility again. Those people were monsters. And every last one of them need to go to hell they were the collective they are the lot that place was filled with nothing but evil people taking advantage of children that didn't have family to back them up. You ever open that again and you all need to go to hell

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      My names Eric Brown 2 years ago

      I am a survivor of McLaren hall. Maclaren Hall is not in business and if it is what are you think you're doing just because I am no longer there does not give you the right to come back alive you people are the most evil system that has ever been involved with the government you will not ever open Maclaren hall again McLaren Hall was a baby molesting child abusing and child selling organization and I'll put it to you again my name is Eric Brown and I'm that guy I'm the one that escaped the mall because he your horrible freaking actions you do not molest children and then have counselors tell him that's the way life is. You do not sell babies that parents have died and think that nobody still around you people better not be in business I will come unglued

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      James Zezula 2 years ago

      That place sucked!!! I was there 3 different times in 1990-1991 and saw tons of abuse! There was also a dude names "Steven Shaw" who I was in a separate place with. They abused the shit out of him!!! But I actually awoled!!! I snuck in to the big laundry basket on wheels (remember those?) and hid under the laundry. Then I had to wait for a while until I was near these big tires that were stacked up which were on the playground. Then I hid in there for a while. Then I went looking for a way over the wall. The lunch benches were all chained to the ground except for one! So I leaned it up against the wall, climbed it, then I lifted my self by grabbing on to the light (which were about 3 feet from the top of the wall). That's when I was noticed by a couple staff with flashlights! I almost fell because they were throwing stuff at me trying to stop me from escaping. But I finally reached the top, and did a hang drop to the other side (my feet and legs hurt for days). I was wearing one of those MacLaren Childrens center sweaters (remember the ones that had a teddy bear hugging a heart?) so I flipped it inside out and just ran and ran. I had no idea where I was, so I asked some people coming out of a church to help me and I gave them a BS story. So they drove me all the way from El Monte to Van Nuys!!

      ps. I've got pics of the place cuz they were doing this event where they had a bunch of celebrities come and talk to us.

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      Raul 2 years ago

      I was there in 92,93 i never seen any abuse there my was a good place

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      Fabian 2 years ago

      im a veteran of MH or MacBaby as we called it in those days! i was there in an out 85-97 my longest duration was a year an 6months before being emancipated to margarita mendez aprtments, but i remember the senior boys staff, delgado, romeo, fredd, and many others

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      Old placement girl 2 years ago

      It's just used as a office now! I work for DCFS now too! I was never there but was a child of the system and heard stories from kids who were there and was transfered to where I was placed! And one of the girls claimed she dated a staff! And one girl said it just like jail and she had to fight because staff would let others attack you! Just from hearing the stories and seeing them I never wanted to being that place! Ugh! It's not re opening, that's a lie! But there is a need for facilities, just not places like that or any other foster home or foster parent who abuses a child!

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      Karina Uranga 2 years ago

      Hi Julia,

      I can't believe I found this article. I was in MacClaren Hall for 6 months back in '90. It was a terrible place to be in but no worse than what I was taken out of. I do remember 1 staff member that was a source of light and inspiration for me during that bleek period and I have tried to find her but with no avail. Do you know how I would go about trying to find her? Her name was Mrs. Lovett she was in Junior girls cottage. I got transferred out of there and put in to Senior girls cottage. I would like to thank her and let her know I made it despite all the hurdles. Please contact me if you have any suggestions as to how I would go about finding her. karzbazaar@yahoo.com

      Thanks for the great article.

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      German armenta 2 years ago

      I was in MH when I was about 6 when I got token away first, I remember my 4 other brothers got there And the room was only meant for 4 so we were in the room the staff told us only 4 in here so figure it out. I was about 6, my brothers were 7,8,9 and 5 I believe. I said "I'll do it" trying to be brave cause I didn't want my brothers to be scared so I slept the first night outside the door. Remember I was six. The first night I was in the hallway and I was about two rooms away from a black dude. He was probably late in his teens I'm guessing. He screamed every night I was there dam near nonstop" he broke my leg the manager broke my leg" followed by screams and yelling. Till this day I still hear him scream in my dreams I can't stop it I wish I can turn it off. At night I've been known to scream I'm guessing like that black dude. I wish I could have someone to talk to it still hurts me. I'm lonely for the most part I'm always moody and mean, I think? My brothers and I don't talk we never talk cause we just don't get along and I wish we could.after MH I lived in 22 foster homes. I wish this pain could go away I'm 29 I want kids, to be happy, a family, but I guess some of us weren't meant to ever be happy I guess. I'm crying as I type this. I can't sleep at night no one believes me but I can't go to sleep easily and if I do it's barely a couple of hours when I'm exhausted. Life suks and tomorrow it will be the same thing.

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      Julia Walrath 2 years ago from Torrance, CA

      Yes but it is no longer being used as a residential facility for foster kids. It's still a DCFS office but there are no children there.

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      hdhdhdhdhcn 2 years ago

      Its not closed down that awful place is still open.

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      Octavio-D 2 years ago

      Wow, im 34 now and i still remember this place. I was 5 or 6 and remember being taken to this place due to an abusive family. Remeber having to fight another kid there for him saying my little brother was his (i know) but my older sisters where in another area and after the fight we got to spend time with them. Remember it being packed too. About all i can honestly remeber. Crazy that i still remember, but i do.

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      Margaret 2 years ago

      Julia, I am interested in your research. I am a Capital Mitigation Specialist and I have a client who is a former MH resident when he was age 5 to 6. He has horrific feelings when he tries to access those memories. I would so much appreciate knowing your research process, a few sources, etc. I am putting together a presentation on MH in a court trial on behalf of our client for whom the state is seeking the death penalty. Please reply to me at mdifrank@gmail.com

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      Julia Walrath 2 years ago from Torrance, CA

      Madelin I am so sorry you had to experience that, especially as a child. It just is not right. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my article!

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      Madelin 2 years ago

      I was in mac in 1995 my first day there I was slammed into a room restrained beatined by a staff for not respecting her and doing my chores. There was so much things that happened in there I am now 35 years old and still remember like it was yesterday.

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      snyder 2 years ago

      It wasn't that bad was in and out for 5 years staff were cool 85 through 91

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      Patricia 2 years ago

      I am a former Mac Kid. Still cringe when I think of the long pink nightgown with the logo-- bear holding the heart.

      Anyways, I was there too much. Pixie and I Cottage multiple times spanning from 1988 to 1994.

      Remember Papa Smurf...

      Remember the giant wall...

      Remember the "r&r" room...

      And,

      If anyone remembers the flooding of I Cottage b-wing...then we were there at the same time.

      Now I'm entering my last year of law school to advocate for those children left without a voice.

      I am so proud of each of you.

      Email me anytime visionary@nlaw.northwestern.edu

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      Anthony Rodrigues 2 years ago

      I was in MacLaren Hall around 1984/1985 and I was there almost a year. I remember being taken to Mac Hall around 2AM and I was given a quick check up by the on duty nurse. I was then escorted to my cottage where as soon as we stepped in the door there was 2 staff members subduing one of the kids who was screaming. That kid ended up being my new roommate. I remember kids getting into fights and staff members dragging them to this room down the hall that was like solitary confinement. I ended up meeting a nice girl and her and I would talk on a regular basis, one of the staff members (a heavy set black guy with an accent) got upset with me because he also liked her. I would see him talking to her from time to time. Mind you she was 16 at the time and he was easily in his 40's. This staff member did not like me at all and had the nerve to tell me to STAY AWAY FROM HER... I told him that he can not tell me what to do when it comes to talking with others and her especially. He got upset at me and ended grabbing my arm and tried to drag me to that locked room at the end of the hall. I was in there for a couple of hours. When it was my time to leave I was being escorted to the front and of course we ended up walking past that same staff member, he ended up telling the 2 volunteer workers that I was a bad kid and that I would be back.. they were kind enough to say NO HE WILL NOT and that was the last I ever saw of that place and jerk.

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      lenize 2 years ago

      It seems that I am the gandmother veteran of MH. I just happened to look it up and was horrified to see nothing had changed. I was there when I was about 12 years old after being taken by the state from an abusive home. My first night gave me a hard fast lesson of the dog eat dog world I was living in now and nothing happened to change that reality from then on. I went through the foster home placement then back to MH revolving door many times and somehow survived it. At 12 we were made to take care of the younger children who were stacked in metal cribs that were stacked like cages. We did the laundry, cleaning, and kitchen duties where we girls took great care to not be found alone with the cook or be held and forced to kiss him. I was finally blessed when a girl from the church I used to attend spoke to her parents about my situation and they got a foster parent license and took me in. But, in another show of the states insane handling of the children, they put me back into my parental home and told my bio father to take me to my new foster home which he did but I was terrified every second it took to reach their home. Blessedly my new mom and dad were loving people and when my bio dad told them; "you take her and make sure she never darkens my doorway again or I will shoot and kill her", they closed the door on his face and I became their daughter as much as their other nine children. When I finally opened up to them all that was going on at MH they tried to alert people about the horrors and abuse happening there, they were told that it was just the imagination of a problem child and they were jeopardizing their license if they kept it up or they might lose me but they never stopped tellling people about it. They are still my family, mom and dad are gone now but my brother and sisters asked me if I had heard anything lately about MH and this brought me to this site. Perhaps some of the staff were better than others but they were the adults who were supposedly trained in the care of troubled children. What I learned at MH was to survive, not cope which left me a child with too much knowledge of the inhumanity of people and the depravity that is visted upon the most innocent among us, our childre. I left my childhood behind at a very early age and MH gave me my degree in distrust. Thankfully I was blessed with my wonderful parents who saved me and loved me. I know that others were not so blessed ironically that blessing did not come from the state who placed me in MH, or as we called it Hell Hall. It was a place that you could leave alive but with a very scarred soul. Much prayers to all of you who survived it.

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      sandra 2 years ago

      I was there off n on my whole life my mom was there my uncle n my aunt im part of the Toscano family who stayed there n i seen a lot of things it wasn't that bad when i was there it was what u mad it the staff did what they could but the kids where not angels either i did a lot of bad things to the staff myself they had to tell because i didn't remember but i always kept my head up n im sorry to all the kids that had to.deal with all the bad things that happened i hope there lives are way better now n God bless everyone hope some of u know me

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      Julia Walrath 2 years ago from Torrance, CA

      Amber thank you for your comments. I actually wrote this article for a term paper for school. I was wondering if you could email me and maybe give me your story of what it was like there. I think it's horrible how nobody takes any accountability to what happened there, it just gets swept under the rug. It's really unfair and sick. Anyway, my email address is julia6882@gmail.com Thanks

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      Amber 2 years ago

      Thomas, you and I were at Mac around the same time! I wonder if we know each other? And you're right, this article is unfortunately 100% accurate. I was in Pixie cottage in 1987 (6 years old), I cottage in 1992 and Junior Girls in 1993. I won't even begin to share the horrors I experienced in that hell hole. I will say that in defending myself against staff members, I stabbed one of them in the face and as a result (of defending myself against these horrible people), I was choked almost to death, arrested, and taken to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall where I awaited trial for attempted murder. Oh yes, MacLaren Hall liked to the play the victim alright. Homelessness and jail are far superior to living in a place where they torture you just because you're unfortunate enough to have parents who were unfit to take care of you. If any Mac alumni want my contact info: amberatevalu@gmail.com

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      Julia Walrath 2 years ago from Torrance, CA

      Thank you for your comments. I was not aware that MacLaren Hall had been reopened. If true, that is horrible.

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      Candice Hollinger 2 years ago from Canyon Country, California

      I was there in 1988, I was a 15 year old girl that was removed from my home due to sexual abuse. When I got there I was told I needed to get examined by this doctor. I did not know it then but I do now, they wanted me to submit to a pap smear. I refused and was told that if I did not do it, I could not eat or do any activities until I agreed. Today I still have severe anxiety attacks when seeing my OBGYN. Also the Judge at court ordered to me to attend some group counciling sessions. When we go back to MaClaren I was told that unless the Judge was willing to drive me then I would not be going. Was at a friends in El Monte a few months ago and found out that the place is Back Open. Seriously. Come on!

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      Carlos 2 years ago

      Wow. I didn't know all this was going on. I attended MH around 1986 and I was 5 or 6 years old then. I was probably there a month or two. I remember groups were divided by letters depending on age. Good behavior was rewarded by a point system that could be redeemed for toys or goodies at MH's store. That's were I bought my ticker toy set. I remember there being an on campus carnival like event. As I am writing this I remember the campus had its own school. I can remember a huge tire on the playground. We had a movie night every so often in the dining hall. I can even remember watching The Land Before Time while eating ice cream. I remember feeling that I didn't want to leave to the foster home.

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      Julia Walrath 2 years ago from Torrance, CA

      I am so sorry you and your family had to experience that. Thank you for your comments.

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      5dennis5@gmail.com 2 years ago

      In 1986, my ex-wife manipulated the system and stole custody of my kids after she didn't show up in court for the divorce she had asked for on Valentine's Day: LAPD took my 2 kids, (boy 12, girl 10), and put them into MH where with them being white, meant they had to fight to keep their Levi's, tennis shoes and even a hair brush. To make a long story short, I knew about the abuse and deplorable conditions so I regreatably agreed to give up my custody to my ex- and her mother, to get them out of that shit hole. My kids were in "Family Court," downtown and saw the tears streaming down my face as I agreed to give my dope fiend ex-wife custody to get them out of there.

      If my kids hadn't have been tough and strong minded, they would have been taken advantage of more, like so many weaker kids.

      My son sent me this article and neither one of them will ever forget MH and what their mother did, nor how they were ripped from me by the LA courts. Thank God they grew up to be pretty good adults, despite the traumatic experiences they were forced to endue in MH as well as with their mother. She's dead now from an overdose after doing 2 years in federal prison for Identity Theft. The kids were there for 2 weeks and I don't think I slept at all, nor many nights afterward because of knowing what she was capable of, and doing. Funny thing is that I still love the woman she was, but the one she became I want to burn in Hell for what she did to my kids.

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      Tommy K 2 years ago

      I was there at the end of '84 into 85 sometime, I think maybe a few months before I was transferred to CBH for another few months, about ten months total. I was admitted to Mcleran hall in the middle of the night, as I was turning 6 years old that midnight. This was the result of being taken from my parent due to severe physical abuse by my father. My memories of my initial encounters with the staff there was that they were nice and being sympathetic to me and making it a big deal I was waking up my first day there on my birthday.

      Those early days at MH were a relief, a first ever break from a violent home life. I don't remember extremely bad conditions as described above. Not to say it wasn't happening, some just had it worse than others I guess. I remember wooden cereal bowls and a couple trips to Big Bear. I remember it being crowded, with boys of all ages, fights were common place. I don't recall any abuse from the adults there, but I don't actually remember much of an adult presence after the initial arrival.

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      Julia Walrath 2 years ago from Torrance, CA

      Thank you for commenting. I am so sorry you had to experience what you did.

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      Kimberly Bolin 2 years ago

      I was there in 1989. It was horrible. The staff was very abusive. No one believed me. It haunts me still. I'm 38 now. I'm glad that house of horrors is closed.

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      Hattie 2 years ago

      Terrible stuff Thomas - I'm so sorry that happened to you. That sounds like living hell. History teaches us that institutions for children are breeding grounds for neglect and serious abuse. Congratulations on overcoming your past.

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      Julia Walrath 2 years ago from Torrance, CA

      I am so sorry you had to experience what you did at the hands of the cruel system that is supposed to protect.

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      Thomas Lazore 2 years ago

      I am one who knows first hand what it was like living with in the walls of mclerin hall, I was place in the care of mclerin hall first in 1985/86 and again in 1992. The article above is no exageration. The first time through I watched as staff trough out all my personal belongings then after walking me through the magnetically locking door this staff looks down at me sayin that it was time to see how tough I was keep in mind I was only 5 years of age at that time, I was instructed by this staff member to fight one of the other boys in the unit that they had called over after refusing having never been in a fight before another staff came over and began to whip me with a length of garden hose that had been cut until I agreed to fight this other boy, the three staff who were on duty made some wages amongst each other before signaling to start fighting. This fight did not last long I was quickly thrown in to a corner of the brick wall that angled out not in cracking my head open. I received no medical attention while crying I was dragged by the collar of my shirt over to a bed that was in a long hall several beds lined the walls in this corridor with several door to what I later saw were rooms two beds per room but I was thrown on to this bed in the hall and a dry towel thrown in my face I am 34 years of age now and still to this day have the scar over my right eyebrow to serve as a constant reminder of that first day at mclerin hall. I was placed there for three months on this stint and every day of those three miserable months I was forced to fight day after day till I was transferred out to another placement that was equally abusive, what you all need to realize is that it wasn't just mclerin hall, this was how it was in every placement home, and this kind of stuff continues regularly to this day the first thing they take when put in placement is the child's credibility by labeling in the child's file as delusional or fancy wording like prone to fabrication or simply know to exaggerate, so none would listen even if the child got a chance to tell someone, I could go on and on about each home I was placed in but I would have to write a novel to fit it all in, even still the things I went through personally for the 12 years I lived in placement I'm sure every one wouldn't believe because of how outrageous it sounds, I lived it everyday of my youth and I can hardly believe how sick and cruel this life has been, the only thing that got me through it all was music, there was one counselor in all that time who genuinely care she started to teach me music on the piano as well as music theory that became my outlet my release having no one to talk to and no other healthy way to vent so music became my way of keeping sane through it all, to this day I remain good friend with that counselor and I hope to use my music to open eyes influence change and spread awareness, because no matter how difficult my life was there are tens of thousands out there who on a regular basis have it 100 times worse than I ever did, that's why I chose the artist name A.L.M. (Another life mistreated) I have realized once I got passed self putty and resentments and after I stopped blaiming my past for all my current problems well I saw that we are all mistreated in some shape or form, in all my songs I tell my story with lyrics and tones not to show how bad I had it but to show how dark life gets for everyone across the world. I appolagise for letting this comment get so long but I needed to share with everyone the truth of the system and what the kids go through when a parent or parents don't do right by their children so again sorry for the length of this I am open to sharing all of my story with those who are willing to listen feel free to email me or track me down on Facebook thank you all for your time. Email: angel1riverside@gmail.com Facebook: tommy.lazore