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

Updated on November 5, 2018

MacLaren Hall opened it's doors more than 40 years ago. The enormous property was intended to house children removed from their homes and waiting to be placed in foster care. Over the years, however, the El Monte center served more as a warehouse for as many as 300 children at a time. Some children remaining at the facility for a year or longer. The overcrowding led to allegations of improper care from staff, abusive discipline, over-medication and poor living conditions. MacLaren Hall housed roughly 4,000 children a year during the 1960s. Over the next six decades, MacLaren Hall would be home to tens of thousands of children. The poorly staffed and underfunded facility quickly became overcrowded. Children removed from their homes due to abuse were housed with the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed and children facing criminal charges. The lack of supportive services and inadequate staff, made conditions worse. Children frequently ran away, and violent outbursts were constant. Violent children and mentally unstable children dominated MacLaren Hall and this proved to be a very damaging combination.

There are numerous reports of children being repeatedly abused by staff as well as the other children at the facility. Reports of both physical and sexual abuse were ignored. During that time period, Los Angeles County's Emergency Shelters were no different than most County Emergency Shelters in America. Abuse was widespread, and most facilities were understaffed or inadequately trained, not trained to work with youth with mental health issues and special needs.

The facility finally shut it's doors in June of 2003 after a class action lawsuit was filed by a resident. There were claims that MacLaren Hall staff injured numerous children, violently restrained children, and staff denied basic needs such as food and water. The number of sexual abuse claims was staggering. The county denied the allegations claiming the children were injuring staff. Many of the juvenile records that described the abuse at MacLaren Hall were said to have been either destroyed or lost. It is hard to imagine a system with this much corruption existed for so long in Los Angeles. The County failed these children, and then refuses to take responsibility. Children who were taken from their homes, many who had already suffered some form of abuse, were then re-abused, by the one who was supposed to protect them. 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.

The abuse these Children suffered ranged from sexual abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse. Children were many times over- medicated, or unnecessarily medicated. Children were treated like animals and forced to live in filthy and unsanitary conditions. Thousands of traumatized children were removed from abusive homes only to be re-traumatized. The fact that this went on from the 1960s up until 2003 is appalling. How could this have happened? Currently in Los Angeles County, there are 28,000 children in foster care. There is also a huge shortage 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..

The foster care system in Los Angeles as well as the rest of the country is beyond flawed. There needs to be a change. Children cannot keep being abused. Social workers are overloaded with cases making it impossible to give each family the time or services they need. With too many cases and not enough social workers, children are falling through the cracks. Directors from DCFS demand more thorough investigation from the emergency response social workers who are then too quick in removing children in fear of losing their jobs. Children that need to be removed are either forgotten about or sent to a foster home that's even more abusive than the home.

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

(1) Children were placed 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.

(4) There we're as many as 11 reports of Children's arms being broken by staff members.

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

Numerous former residents have requested their records only to be denied. In the prison like atmosphere, MacLaren Hall housed severely abused children with extensive behavioral issues, alongside violent juvenile offenders. This reckless system created much of the chaos and widespread violence. In the mid-1980s, faculty members came under fire as reports were made of staff selling drugs and abusing children. This led to a brief period of improvement at the facility. Then in 1997, a 12-year-old boy died after inhaling fumes from a can of hair mousse as he was unsupervised by staff.

Maclaren Hall sat on 10 acres. The facility consisted of a campus, school, infirmary, administrative offices and cottages. Maclaren Hall was overcrowded and poorly staffed, leading to a constant increase in violent outbursts and chaos. Housing emotionally disturbed, suicidal, and violent children with children in general population shows the deliberate lack of concern and inadequate training of the staff.

There have been numerous reports by former residents of children being examined, over-medicated, taunted by staff, restrained, and beaten. Reports of rape and sexual abuse was widespread. Reports of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and suicide are just a few issues former residents reported suffering from today. As adults, they are still affected by the trauma they experienced at MacLaren Hall.

Children released from probation facilities without a place to go ended up at MacLaren Hall, where they were housed with children coming in from psychiatric hospitals, and those who were suicidal and developmentally delayed. There are reports of staff dragging small children and 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 brought back. The majority of the children 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 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 protection. There needs to be change and reform. If nothing changes the cycle will only repeat itself.

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    • profile image

      Bernie M 

      5 days ago

      I was there between 1982-1984 on and off. The night I arrived is still etched in my head and the things that I saw still have me in therapy today. Does anyone remember Aaron Ruben the producer of the Andy Griffith show, he brought Vans shoes for all the children. The actors of Family Ties visited also while I was there. I still have letters to my mother begging for her to let me come home.

    • profile image

      Keisha Jones 

      6 weeks ago

      I webt too mac when i was five years old i was in picxxes. The first time . I guess i was bless . Cause i have nothing but good memories then i went to junior girls . I cottsge . Senior girl K cottage

    • profile image

      Sam "blaze" G Cottage 1990 

      2 months ago

      I wrote this ten years after the fact for an english class I was taking at Glendale Community college.

      On January 1st, 1990, at the apex of the innocent yet belligerent age of 12, I sat in disquieted apprehension in a cold gray room, waiting for the day’s events to transpire. It was a New Years Day like any other--overcast, lazy, annoying. It was probably around nine o’clock when a patrol car showed up which was quite disconcerting because I knew that social workers drove one of two things: either off-white Buick Skylarks or faded gray Toyota Corollas--this was neither. Now, instead of a nerdy looking social worker, who I was expecting, two intimidating officers with shit-eating grins stepped out of the car and came up to the front door of our two-bedroom house that my father rented on Mira Vista Street in the city of La Crescenta.

      The cops came in. Brushing me aside, they began to talk with my dad, ignoring me completely except for a few disinterested glances which seemed to be focused more on something behind me than on me myself. They didn’t say much as far as I remember, but about five minutes later they approached me, informing me with rank condescension that we were going on a “little trip.” They put the cuffs on me, put me in the car, put the car in drive and slowly pulled away. I can still remember looking back in confusion as we drove away, seeing my dad standing on the front lawn, watching in an awkward state of calm. I wondered why he hadn’t done anything to protect me from these monsters in blue garb, and I continued to wonder this until he vanished from my sight along with any hopes that he would come rescue me from the clutches of these strangers.

      We ended up at this building which looked more like an impenetrable fortress than a building. Now that I think of it, it was probably built back in the fifties; with a red brick façade and faded blue metal paneling, it was truly a formidable sight. The few windows it had were tinted and encased in calcium stained aluminum. Half a block from the front entrance, within the twelve-foot walls that encompassed this dismal complex, was a large electric gate. We pulled into a small parking lot as the gate slowly rolled open. Then, as soon as it closed, I was more than politely escorted to a heavy metal door. A magnetic lock clicked with a loud crack; the door opened, and alone I proceeded into the bowls of this ghastly beast.

      Still in cuffs, I was told to sit in the waiting area, a place with bland walls and cheap furniture, while the police talked to the attendants at the front desk. They must have talked for an hour, laughing and carrying on as if I didn’t exist, as if the fear and anxiety that churned behind my unmet eyes did not exist. Then, as if the two officers had nothing better to do, they finally took the handcuffs off, and without a word as to what was happening or why I was there, they left. Again, I was alone.

      Already, I clung desperately to memories of a more pleasant time and place, memories which quickly began to fade after the only link between the outside world and myself had left without a word. It was then that I realized that I was in a strange and foreign place inhabited by even stranger people. Fear and anxiety slowly began to eat away at my essence. The two attendants called me up to the counter and asked me if had any guns, knives or drugs in an all too formal manner which made me wonder what kind of place this was, and more so, who it was

      built to contain. I didn’t have any of these things, but I did have a couple packs of cigarettes, and so, without much thought, I pulled them out and placed them on the counter in front of me. Quickly, one of the attendants scooped them up. I asked when I would be getting them back. She laughed like the tyrant she was and said in the most inhospitable voice she could conjure up, “Boy, when you leave here, you can have ‘em.” I never saw those cigarettes again.

      After this initial disillusionment in which it was made painfully obvious that I had no right to retain even the smallest amount of dignity, a big fat white dude, reminiscent of a grizzly bear, walked through a set of double doors with heavy and furious footsteps. He came up on me, folds of fat inches from my face; with heavy, constricted nasal breathing, he said, “Grab your shit kid,” and in a fear just short of complete paralysis, I immediately complied. We walked out the set of double doors through which he made his entrance, down a long concrete walkway and into the inner confines of the twelve foot walls, walls which I would see the insides of for the next six months.

      Inside the walls it was strange. It was an expansive plot of land. There were a few trees and shrubs, other than that the grounds were barren--filled with dying lawn, concrete pillars, eroding asphalt and dotted with rows of hideous housing blocks. They called these housing blocks, cottages, as if it were they quaint little chalets set deep within the mountainous regions of Switzerland. They were not; they were more like cancerous growths, industrial strength monstrosities of dingy white steel paneling and cold concrete blocks.

      We continued to walk down this walkway until we reached a cottage with a large black “G” painted over two metal doors. We went through these heavy doors which opened into a long forbidding hallway dimly lit with the green glare of cheap florescent lights. The walls were barren and the cold linoleum floor, spotless. The fat man walked ahead of me; heavy footsteps echoed throughout the corridor and into dark rooms adjoining. I followed in suit, with head down so as not to meet the cold stares given by my displaced contemporaries that occupied these dark and quiet rooms.

      With a percussive gesture of arm and pointed finger, he directed me into a room which seemed darker than the others and said, “Sit,” as if I were some kind of disobedient animal to be trained. He walked over to another man who sat in silent watch, and I heard the fat man whisper something in his ear. Suddenly, booming down the hall came the cold hoarse voice of a violent man, “Come o’er hea boy!” Startled by this outburst, I stood up, and with much apprehension, I approached the origin of this spiteful voice. Looking up, I saw only eyes and teeth in the darkness, yellow stained eyes and angry, angry teeth. He said nothing that his cold stare did not, and with calloused hands and gnarled fingers he placed within my arms a blanket of pistachio green, a cheap excuse for a pillow and a dingy sheet. “Lights out,” he said.

      Looking down, I turned and slowly walked back to my room. I put the linen on a thin foam mattress, took off my clothes and lay down. Still, I had no idea why I was here or for all that’s worth where here even was. I was alone, frightened and out of my element. The putrid scent of betrayal was still fresh within my nostrils. I pulled the cover over my face and began to cry. I wanted someone, just to listen to me and hold me and protect me. But now, all I had was me, a child and a child’s dying hope.

    • julia6882 profile imageAUTHOR

      Julia Walrath 

      3 months ago from Torrance, CA

      Honor Dorm Cottage G: I have done my research. Have you read through the comments? I believe each and every person who has shared their experience. Your experience has nothing to do with anyone elses.

    • profile image

      Mark W Thompson 

      3 months ago

      Honor Dorm Cottege G,

      I feel like I have a pretty decent perspective because I was various parts of MacLaren Hall, being there for a total of about 24 months in a 3 1/2 year period including Tigers, Jr Boys and the C Wing of YSC (over on the far side.) Because I was a strong chess player as a kid and chess was the game of choice among the male staff, I was able to visit at other dorms and see more of what was going on.

      Back when I was in it in around the middle of 1980, they had good counselors and bad counselors but non that I would classify as abusive. But I also know they had an 8 hour training day every 3rd Tuesday where they learned about working with children. In talking to other kids who had been there a while, teachers, and counselors, I found out that I got there right after a huge shakeup because there was major abuse with lots of broken arms.

      Then around 1982, it got even better there, we'd get huge parties in the gym once a month where they'd have professional hair stylists do hair, manicures, pedicures. Plus they'd have major stars like Erik Estrada, Scott Baio, Erin Moran, Robin Williams, Henry Winkler among others. They'd have tons of food of all types and it would be an incredible evening. There is probably not a kid out there who benefited from and enjoyed MacLaren Hall as much as I did.

      For a couple of years afterwards, I would still talk to several of my favorite staff members and other kids who were there but since it was pre social media, people obviously drifted apart.

      But none of this takes away from the horrible abuse that obviously went on at different times in MacLaren Hall's history. I heard many stories of broken arms kids locked in rooms for days at a time, kids subjected to physical punishments.

      I don't know anything about the second half of the 80's so it could have devolved back into what I hear it was in the 70's, but the fact is, there's no way that you can know either unless you were there at the exact same time.

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 

      3 months ago from Scranton

      Honor Dorm Cottage G,

      Julia Walrath is right in her stories. I was at Mac off and on from 90-93 and did not see any abuse but it does not mean it did not happen. The stories from the '70s and '80s are said and I wonder why they did not get reported. I will admit that I received better treatment since I was older and had carried myself differently. I saw a lot of kids act out and they never got a hand laid on them but that was just in senior boys.

    • profile image

      Honor Dorm Cottage G 

      3 months ago

      Ms. Walrath, you need to do better research. As a child that was in the system, and lived at Mac Laren for close to six months.

      My experience is vastly different from what you wrote. Every weekend we had a DJ bump the latest jams out in the field, behind the cottages; In-N-Out truck more times than I can count.

      DCFS Administration is/was the issue, not so much the CSW that I looked over me and our cottage. As a matter of fact, CSW had such a profound affect on my life, I still think about and quote them to this day. (I even ran into the Mama one day when I took my car in for service, ALL LOVE)

      The county as a whole is messed up. Maybe write up a story criticizing the county, or if you're going to write about Mac Laren, find sources to validate your narrative.

    • profile image

      Mike davis 

      3 months ago

      Man reading some of these coments brings back bad memories i was there with my brother in 1984 was a damn nightmare horriable i never will forget it it mess me up my life and today i still havent forgotton the Hall the padded room i was put in when others. Went to school .

    • profile image

      Shana 

      3 months ago

      I know there were horrible horrible things going on there but for me, it was a relief from the abuse in my home. My twin brother was sent to foster care and me and my two sisters had to stay at the Hall. My sisters did not see it like I did. I finally knew what to expect. It was ultra structured like jail but when you came from not knowing what the next couple minutes could bring...that is a vacation. I am so sorry for those who suffered at the Hall...I guess I feel like it was a blessing for me because my home life was just so much worse. Prayers to everyone.

    • profile image

      linda 

      3 months ago

      I was here when I was 9 and when I turned 10 they put me in with the older kids' I was in lockup a lot. Couldn't understand why I couldn't go home for awhile there they shipped me to juvenile home. I was the youngest there. The hall was new then..The kids moved out of Lathrope to Maclaren Hall.

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 

      4 months ago from Scranton

      I always wonder what happened to the kids who were there when I left in the summer of 93. A lot of kids age out of the system when they turn 18 (some 21 if they are in a good home) and if they have no real-world skills they are screwed. The abuse and not knowing the basic life skills can cause a dramatic effect on their life as they get older.

    • profile image

      Blanca robledo 

      4 months ago

      When my mom died was there experience alot of trauma. It was scary situation i was wondering if one knows how to ger my records.

    • profile image

      Erica Tyler 

      4 months ago

      Smh, i cannot believe i wasnt the only person to go through what i had gone tbrough and for such a long leriod of time.. I was there a yr, but i thought that was normal. I slept in the hallway where some girls would start fights with me for no reason at all...most of the time the staff knew but done nothing about it as they always did..if it wasnt the staff giving me issues it was always the girls.. I honestly feared for my life in that place..not knowing if ill survive another night.. I tried to runaway when some boys tried to rape me in the gym..smh..and again, nothing was done about it ..as usual...staff would put us in the r r room for hours...call is out our names and would wrestle us to the ground and twist our arms if we spoke up for ourselves.. I hated that place and the people in it... We were trash to them and thats exackly how they treated us... I could go on and on... Im finally glad i get to speak out my story cause back then, there was nobody who wanted to listen.

    • profile image

      FRED WADE Jr 

      4 months ago

      I was there majority of my life as a young teenager

    • profile image

      NB 

      5 months ago

      I was there from April 1968-October 30th '68. It was a hell hole. I still remember the names of some of the abusive staff that I was forced to contend with. I was terrorized in that place. Physically, psychologically and mentally abused.I'm going to call the law firm that Jen posted on this thread. Long story short, I grew up in child warehousing institutions in L.A. county (no foster homes) and I have been dependent on the system for my survival for more than 90% of my life. I aged out in August of '78.

    • profile image

      TJ 

      6 months ago

      I was there summer of 85, where do I get the records?

    • profile image

      Jeremy 

      6 months ago

      I remember being locked in the box with other kids and making us fight them they the staff would kick our asses if we lost

    • profile image

      Mary 

      6 months ago

      I was sent there for 2 yrs at age 4 back in 1952. I’m now 70. I’m not suicidel anymore, but I still wake w disturbing dreams & memories. I’m in weekly counceling & on anti depressants & anti anxiety meds. I’ve was so affected by the fear & regular sexual abuse that I was not able to socialize normally or escape a life of continued victimization that began at MacLaren. My childhood was taken from me. I googled MacLaren just to validate my memories as true because they were so horrid I didn’t think anyone, even my counselor, would believe me, & there it was...& I wasn’t alone. I understand there was a class action suit. I feel I deserve compensation too, as my whole life was altered & sadly ruined. I’m still affected today at age 70 with bad memories & dreams, PTSD, chronic depression, anxiety, phobias of things that trigger memories & bring on attacks of anxiety. The trauma was so severe & imbedded in me that I was never able to have a healthy relationship or create a family, & spent many yrs. hiding from people. So, I ask, what about me? I was robbed of life. The scared little girl standing alone by the cyclone fence in the scratchy dress that was too big?Now I see there was a class action suit. I ask again, what about me?

    • profile image

      Ruben 

      7 months ago

      Jen LaGuardia I've called them and they said yhey had closed that case years ago unfortunately theres no firm to reopen the case on McLaren Hall

    • profile image

      Patty Harrison 

      7 months ago

      Can any tell me where I can get the records from the 60's

    • Jen LaGuardia profile image

      Jen LaGuardia 

      7 months ago

      I have done some research and had some people help me with the right direction on finding the lawyer that actually IS THE CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT LAW FIRM handling all cases involved with MacLaren Hall I strongly suggest anybody that reads this and was involved with McLaren Hall and their horrible abuse call and tell them you're story as I have recently done. The lawyer is located in California and his name is SANFORD JOHNSON LAW FIRM and his phone number is (310) 546-9118.

    • profile image

      Ruben 

      7 months ago

      I was placed in McLaren Hall with my younger brother and my two older sisters back in the mid 80s . I vividly remember everything that occurred in that place especially when i was sexually abused and i still get nightmares about that incident especially when the lightd turned out at nights knowing i was gonna be sexually abused once agian having that ugly feeling of someone touching you is the most disgusting feeling as a child . I'm trying to get my records when i was in that facility u remember my case worker her name was Linda Quintana I've cried that i wanted to go home .

    • profile image

      Cristal 

      7 months ago

      My two brothers, my sister and myself where all placed there from '93 to, I believe, '95 before being sent to Florence Crittenton. We were all between the ages of one and eight. I was in cottage C, my little brother in cottage A and my baby brother and sister where in the nursery. We were taken from our mother in the middle of the night and rode in a police car from Norwalk to El Monte. I remember going through the huge gate and being scared but making sure my younger siblings didn't see that and kept an eye on them and kept them close until they sepreate us while checking us in and serching us. I remember when first walking down the hall, hearing yells and screams. I hardly ever saw my brothers or sister during our time there. I had made friends with two sister, one was mute and the other was deaf (I can't remember their names). One of the staff, Mexican lady, was threatening the me girl trying to get her to talk. At one point the staff lady had her pinned to the grown twisting her arm up between her shoulder blazes. I tried to just tell the staff lady that she wasn't able to talk and another staff member took over the me girl and the Mexican staff lady grabbed me and slammed me down on that cold hard floor and twisted my right arm up between my shoulders. Somehow I ended up with some records that where sent to my grandmother and in one of the reports it stated I had been sexually abused but I had denied it or who had done it. I honestly, thankfully, don't remember that time. Sadly I was flooded by a flash back of another time it happened at the next group home.

      From time to time this place gets brought up or I happen to randomly think of it and the others that where there hoping they made it out and to somewhere safe.

    • SaraBavle profile image

      SaraBavle 

      7 months ago from Yuma

      I was also a victim of McLaren Hall and want info on the class action. I was there from 94-98 off and on. They forgot to give me important medications and because they "forgot" i am now permanently damaged. Gemini6801 gmail is my info. Thank you

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 

      7 months ago from Scranton

      We all had different experiences at Mac and some had good experiences as others were bad as they left scares on their life. Just remember We all had some different experience but the interpretation of it might not be what others see or have been through.

    • profile image

      P.D 

      7 months ago

      The episodes here were so horrific that all I can say is I survived this.

      God pulled me through this and David And Margaret girls home. No child deserves Mac Claren Hall. When your removed to be protected and the abuse is more traumatic then the home they took you from this is counter productive. Rape, broken bones, made to witness sexual assault and be a look out , while being held face down almost drowned in a toilet. I was only 7 years old. My disorders have disorders.

      If your survived this you can survive anything.

      Satan walked the halls, and he was the staff and bigger kids.

      No one was kind except the other victims, We were all terrified,

      I am glad this place is closed, it should be torn down !

    • Jen LaGuardia profile image

      Jen LaGuardia 

      8 months ago

      I will never forget Mr.Ringer from the Pixies he was the only one that was nice and really tried to make this place bearable..I do remember Ms.Pruitt as well .

    • profile image

      foster83 

      8 months ago

      I remember Tomas. I also remember Snuffy.

      I remember Ms. Pruitt. I remember Mary, 40'ish, tall blonde. Worked out of the Pixie cottage.

      Anyone else remember these staff members?

    • profile image

      foster83 

      8 months ago

      Was there twice. 1983 and 1985.

      Was placed there both times while waiting for a foster home to become available. I wasn't a delinquent. I was simply unwanted.

      No matter, we were all tossed into the same rooms, no matter our backgrounds. We were restrained. Staff did lay hands on us, and honestly, this place was horrible. I have nightmares about it over 30 years later.

      Shame on LA County for this, and for places like it, because there are others, just on a smaller scale. Group homes are run much the same way. Disgusting.

    • profile image

      Melody j 

      8 months ago

      I was in McLaren Hall 96 and don't remember any of these things happening I remember the restraints but I also remember the girls deserving most of it for the way they were acting and violent behaviors so that's why I say the days just deserve most of the restraints I also remember good things happening like Mac 10 LL Cool J Kobe Bryant all coming to McLaren Hall to see us all I also remember being able to go in the swimming pool I also remember movie Nights a lot of these things that people are saying that was happening I don't remember it happening to any other girls when I was there

    • profile image

      Nikki Hamilton 

      8 months ago

      I was kid there in 86 and while there i was sexually abused on a weekly and yes my cries was very much ignored he even denied it in front of the whole dorm i felt dead and stuck i have impulsive control disorder and manic depressive bipolar the foster sytem really messed me up mentally emotionally im 43 and still feel stuck im cryin as i write this out of gratitude that they are closed by why was she heard and not I..I told every one my worker everyone and i have my child hood records and wen i say shit has been left out and stories told wrong all made me look like a bigger problem then i was..they even put me on medication for no real reason redline thurozine sorry if spelled wrong but while on meds i was put in Alhambra mental hospital and stray jacket which gave me another issue wit tight confined spaces...i am still so enraged and no one should live wit this burden i couldnt even get my ssi back pay for all those yrs i went thru hell me and my therapist to get it now..i dont kno how to feel other then cheated and let down.glade they closed

    • profile image

      george cave 

      8 months ago

      I just read the article, doing research for my latest book about my time spent in a group home. Thank you so much for writing it. For me, it started one night when both our parents deserted us three boys. They were gone for a week before the police came and took us to MacLaren Hall. This is the first memory of my life, the night the police took us and being beaten by staff at MacLaren Hall, making me sleep on the floor, segregating me from my brothers, no food or water. I was not quite five years old yet. This was in early 1960. Again, thank you so much for writing the article.

    • Jen LaGuardia profile image

      Jen LaGuardia 

      9 months ago

      I have done some research and had some people help me with the right direction on finding the lawyer that actually IS THE CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT LAW FIRM handling all cases involved with MacLaren Hall I strongly suggest anybody that reads this and was involved with McLaren Hall and their horrible abuse call and tell them you're story as I have recently done. The lawyer is located in California and his name is SANFORD JOHNSON LAW FIRM and his phone number is (310) 546-9118.

    • profile image

      Christina M. 

      9 months ago

      Why can't we forget this place, and our time spent? It's very evident that prior to lock up, during, and too many of our adult years after, still suffering the nightmares, trying hard to forget, or at least block out things, just weren't in our cards.

      I was there in 1983- 84. Seems that many of us shared the abuse, and neglect, by not only Mcclarens broken system, but most likely by the same corrupt staff members, as well. I wish I could tell the younger ones, that one day it will all go away, but it's best to come to terms with reality, and try to get on with your life. Unfortunately, this is just another of life's crap, thrown at you. Try not letting it hit you in the face too hard, when the day comes, and you find yourself too tired, to avoid, and dodge, those memories that have been haunting you, every day since you left.

      Try to find some type of happiness, live life as much as you can. Don't give in to the inner demons, or think your life hadn't any purpose, because if we didn't achieve, earn, or have something that made us proud...then we're just announcing that to all that have failed us growing up, that not only were their actions justified, but that they had won. We don't give up, quit fighting, or give those people ANY such, satisfaction.

      I led a good life for quite some time, and it wasn't until the past 5 years that I let the shit finally hit me. I went to UCLA, received an excellent education, by refocusing on what I valued, and wanted in life. I also had my own consulting company, after many years in practice... But, I let my guard down, trusted a long time, what I thought was a friend, trained her, provided several of her family members employment, and offered to help further their education.... Then she got GREEDY, embezzled over 6 digits from my business, screwed me over, and then took off. I lost homes, my business, all but one car, my money, my pride, then my mind. I lost everthing, and then the O.G. in me took over.

      I hunted that bitch, handled some things, and found myself at West Valley Detention Center, having to spend another year of time. The PTSD, traumatic life occurrences, depression, anxiety, etc... we ALL carry, will kill, or consume us, if we let it.

      Things happen in life, just don't forget where you came from, be loyal, and help others that had it just as hard, but don't EVER lose sight, and not protect yourself, from whatever life may throw in your direction, at any time. Be prepared, and have a back up plan. Anyone in your immediate circle, can flip, even family. I wouldn't have taken it as bad, if it was just my loss, but she stole, from my children, a well secured future with the business, inwhich I myself had created. That was MY legacy, to leave.

      Recovery has been long, and hard, whilst simultaneously, overcoming the last 5 years of hell. I want to again, enjoy life, and hopefully, will again have the opportunity, to achieve a little more success in life.

      I will never again lower myself, nor become as fowl as a person, as she. My eyes will only be looking forward from now on, and that's already living a much better life, than a person that always fears, and has to constantly be looking behind.

      ( i.e... The thief in my life... Inland Empires, Elena Maria Talavara/ Viramontes/ Armendarez)

      May karma, also catch up to that scandalous bitch! LMAO!

      Peace out all...

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      Nakell Jackson 

      9 months ago

      I was in that that place from 83 to 87. I can remember being abused by these staff members named Tomas a big Hispanic guy and a guy named Fred Ross. I never wanted to be there so i would break out the windows and run away. I can remember being locked in a room at the end of the wing(Senior boys drom) when i was supposed to be in the Jr's drom. There wasn't just abuse by staff either. If anyone can point me in the direction to file a case and or suit please inform me on how to do one. Also it is sad to hear about misty and others that went thru hell being in that place. Hi Jennifer i no you go bye jen now but we where there during the same time.

    • Jen LaGuardia profile image

      Jen LaGuardia 

      9 months ago

      Thank you Scott

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 

      9 months ago from Scranton

      I read all of these horror stories and I really bad for all of you. am in a better place mentally and emotionally now so I am in college to become a Social Worker. I figure who better to stick up for children than someone who went through the system. I know the challenge is hard but I want to help those who need it the most.

    • Jen LaGuardia profile image

      Jen LaGuardia 

      9 months ago

      I was pretty much raised in MacLaren Hall. I went from pixies all the way threw senior girls off and on. The abuse that I went through there is for ethics if anybody knows anything about who I should contact so this class action lawsuit

      please let me know.

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      Rub 

      10 months ago

      This place gave me the creeps i was abused by staff when i was 6 years old i vividly remember her only if anyone is doing research on this case im sure theres alot of abused victims

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      Donna 

      10 months ago

      Read the story of : Misty who got no breaks she lived in this night mare in this facility Until one day she ran away and was raped and killed in Palmdale California and no one was arrested for this crime.

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      Gina 

      10 months ago

      There aren't any words that I can say to tell the abuse that children with special needs had to live with while being in there I'm so glad that place is closed down

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      tony 

      10 months ago

      some of the allegations listed above are not true

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      sally from valley 

      11 months ago

      too bad there are no records that they will give us. that would be evidence of us even being at McLaren. This is the sad part. who knows what they even said about us. all i know is they can say how retarded i was, even that i am not. To even care who was there or not.

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 

      11 months ago from Scranton

      When I was there off and on from 90-93 I never realized that so many of you were suffering the way you were. I was friends with a lot of the girls and it saddens me that I knew and did nothing to help.

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      Maya 

      11 months ago

      Sally from Valley, You were there when I was there!

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      Kristina Middlebrooks 

      12 months ago

      If possible I’d like to claim a law suit for pain and suffering please. I still suffer today from mistreatments.

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      Kristina Middlebrooks 

      12 months ago

      I was at mclaren back and forth from 1990’s to 2000. I got falsely accused of something I didn’t do and go sent to juvenile hall for 30 days. Also I have gotten retrained by 4 male staff. I’ve have my arms bent behind my back and almost broken. I’ve seen kids walking around with arm casts because there arm was broken. They rarely provided clothes. They didn’t supervise children kids ended up pregnant having babies. Some staff criticized kid’s. I was over medicated and neglected as a child. I witnessed how girls snuck into the boys cottages to have sex. I’ve seen how kids were locked into time out rooms for hours. The staff always would gossip instead of attending to the kid’s. Some children were scared to speak up when they had court. I’ve seen kids get slammed on the ground by male staff. It was a nightmare I’m groans I still have dreams of running away.

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      Sally from valley 

      12 months ago

      At Mclearn hall i was there in 94. Three days before the northridge quake. I was scared when comming in cottage k .I have seen how bad they treated the other kids. I have a few good memories. This is the place were i was quite, and mostly to myself. I remeber the names of some staff. I like to draw,and color. So mattie would make sure i had markers, and paper. Ms Newman had us get all kinds of postive poems or sayings she wanted us to know. The night staff play spades. didnt know anything about sexual abuse. My aunt put me in there cause of playing with fire. I got taken away from my mom cause of sexual abuse. I tell you it was a experience i cant forget. I think i got some of my depresion form that place.

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      Ruben Rodriguez 

      14 months ago

      I was there in the mid 80s and i was abuse by staff members

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      Lacora 

      14 months ago

      I was just there a year ago before they close for a whole year I told the judge what was happening they didn't believe me I was just a bad child I'm still suffering to this day that's how I found this page

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 

      14 months ago from Scranton

      After reading so many horror stories about how many of you had a hard time at Mac what made me so different? I never went through a third of what many of you went through is it because I handled myself differently or is it because they had pity on me?

      I always was on level 4 and had more freedom than most since I was already a teen when I went there. If I was a lot younger maybe, just maybe, I would have gone through the same horror as most of you did. I was in the juvenile part of the system so my toughness and learning to cope with bullies and B.S. started there.

      I feel bad for all of you that had to go through all of this. This is why lord willing I will get a human services degree within the next year or so and I can help with that change. We all need support, I hope most of you have someone to talk to and if you need that extra support never be afraid. to ask

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      donajs 

      14 months ago

      Horrible, horrible place. I was a victim of molestation and treated as a criminal! This was in 1966. Both my sister and I have suffered as a result of this. Funny, the staff liked me and were somewhat nice to me but hated my sister and put her in solitary confinement for no reason. I know this has hurt our relationship all these years later. Sad, very sad. I am in therapy and trying to deal with this horrible place and their mistreatment of me and my sister. Disgusting!

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      Ebony 

      14 months ago

      dud I was there and my first night I had to fight 2 bigger chicks who ripped my shower curtain open asking if I was gay I said no and they sad we will see by the time you leave here I stood in a freaking towel and fought for my life!

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      Peg 

      16 months ago

      I was there in 1988-1991

      Unsuccessful at getting records. Or names of cottage employees that locked me and my house sisters in the r&r rooms. Cold dirty floors. No food or water.

      I desperately seek Teresa. I don't know your last name. And chakakahn. No last name :(

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      ddonaldhart7811 

      17 months ago

      @rose.we all loved you.

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      ddonaldhart7811 

      17 months ago

      me and my sisters went through that shit hole,me from the afge of 5 all the way to 16 back and forth.1985-96 I think maybe more years then I care to remember,there is no positive memories just ,scary,dangerous danger

      . from this place .my sisters name was xaviera and psykeisha hart

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      jennypadilla752@gmail.com 

      17 months ago

      I was there in 1965 I was horribly abused I staff my older children and by the doctors

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      Jeanine Caterisano 

      17 months ago

      I'm looking for the paper work to file a lawsuit claim please?

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      Jeanine Caterisano 

      17 months ago

      I was there when I was three would there be records?

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      Crystal Randle, Bishop, Francis 

      17 months ago

      I was placed in MacLaren Hall in 1980 or 1981 for 6 months. They told me that my social worker had a car accident and they sent my file to another one who had too many cases to deal with mine. I was taken from my mom. she was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia. I was placed in 10 different homes. also i got pregnant at 15 and was placed in a group home in east Los angeles Called Booth Memorial and they made me give my son up for adoption. I was listening to Tiffany Haddick of TV One telling her story and I heard her say she was in MacLaren Hall. She is younger than me so we were not there together. That is only a small part of my story. thank God I have my mind!

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      Rose 

      18 months ago

      I hated that place.

      I Ran from that place a few times never was caught. I remember messing with the staff when I would get out of my cottage they could never catch me I was to fast for them. So when I would get tied I would go In when I was done. Knowing I get I would be restrained first by 5 staff. Man it would take 5 of them. Lol. Then I got jumped will being restraind. That's what was fucked up about the staff. The staff let the girls kick me in my face over and over by 4 different girls will the staff held me down. I'll never forget that. Then when I pressed charges on the girls the staff tried to be on my side. Yeah fuck you Kim Vu . I'M so glad that place got closed down.

      Yeah they had there fun times about it.

      But then I'll never forget about the nightmares about it neither..

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      Daniel pagan 

      19 months ago

      @valerie jones I was also there between 1998 and 2002.

      Every time I got restrained I thought I was going to die. The feeling of 4 grown ass men piling on top of you while twisting your limbs and choking off your air supply is by far one of the worse things ever! Every time I was restrained, it was just for talking. How pathetic is that? I was in H cottage, then moved to G later on. They were good at covering up shit afterwords. No one would believe any of us when we reported it. Not even the bruises were enough. They made it seem like we did it to ourselves in the incident reports. I remember one staff attempted to bribe me out of fear of losing his job not knowing his coworkers would cover for him. I’d sure like to get even with some of those assholes.

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      Og Sin loc Blackburn Google search me 

      20 months ago

      I was there back in 1977 man you should here my testimony!!!!

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      Dinabug619 

      20 months ago

      I was there in the 1985. For a while.. They would cuss at us. And lock us up with a lot of kids for hours.. Tryed to run a couple times.. They beat me. And put me in my room.. I was there tell placement..

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      Clayton Murray 

      21 months ago

      I was in MacLaren Hall from the late 80s and early 90s so where my brothers and sister it has always been an abusive environment verbally and physically moral and morally degrading I was forced to fight other inmates I have seen at least two boys that I can recall being molested by staff The only positive I can remember was a lady named Lisa Cooley she often put together dances and ran a store where you can purchase things on points other than the dance and the store I cannot recall any positives

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      Tammy curtiss 

      22 months ago

      Thank you. One day if God finds it willing I would like to do a documentary on this I and my brothers and sister where housed there in 1966 in was the hippy times. Hippy where consider by socity to be going to hell for patch on the our jeans smoking pot would lead to harder drugs. All this projection from so call leaders. We are not of this world. I have had outer body experience when feeling like I was being attact. This is rather shamful for their was sexual fonding to children that where Innocence. This place lost all records someone know where these records have gone. This is also a repeated pattern in family origin because my mom was an orphan. When is the protection for the fatherless and orphan. We are not if this world. My hope is in my heavenly father Abba Father. Thou your mom and dad failed you I will receive you. Thank you for bring this up. We are surviors. All thou we did not remember for years. Most people got ptsd at 50. Our of 10 siblings I have 4 left that includes me. Yes I ran away when I was 7 and put right back to the foster care that was molesting us this fat discusting man. I remember now but choose to forget. Thank you

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      Brandi rose 

      23 months ago

      Maclaren hall was Miserable!!!!!!! I to am a victim of it's horrors!

    • Jr Spears profile image

      Jr Spears 

      2 years ago

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

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      Jamal 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Julia Walrath 

      2 years ago from Torrance, CA

      Elijahtonnie thank you for your comment!

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      Elijahtonnie 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 years ago

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

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      Carmen Vasquez 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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. 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Brandy Rajagh 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Brian 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Mark W Thompson 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Steve 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Julia Walrath 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Michelle 

      2 years 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

    • profile image

      Michael L Reidy 

      2 years 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.

    • julia6882 profile imageAUTHOR

      Julia Walrath 

      3 years 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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