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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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    • Jen LaGuardia profile image

      Jen LaGuardia 

      5 hours 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 

      35 hours 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 

      2 days 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 

      8 days 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 

      13 days 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 

      2 weeks 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 

      3 weeks 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 

      4 weeks 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 

      4 weeks 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 

      4 weeks 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 

      4 weeks 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 

      5 weeks 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 

      2 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. 

      2 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...

    • profile image

      Nakell Jackson 

      2 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 

      2 months ago

      Thank you Scott

    • SCOTNESS profile image

      Scott Inman 

      2 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 

      2 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.

    • profile image

      Rub 

      3 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

    • profile image

      Donna 

      3 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.

    • profile image

      Gina 

      3 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

    • profile image

      tony 

      3 months ago

      some of the allegations listed above are not true

    • profile image

      sally from valley 

      4 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 

      4 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.

    • profile image

      Maya 

      4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Kristina Middlebrooks 

      4 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Kristina Middlebrooks 

      4 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.

    • profile image

      Sally from valley 

      4 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.

    • profile image

      Ruben Rodriguez 

      6 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Lacora 

      7 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 

      7 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

    • profile image

      donajs 

      7 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!

    • profile image

      Ebony 

      7 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!

    • profile image

      Peg 

      9 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 :(

    • profile image

      ddonaldhart7811 

      10 months ago

      @rose.we all loved you.

    • profile image

      ddonaldhart7811 

      10 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

    • profile image

      jennypadilla752@gmail.com 

      10 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Jeanine Caterisano 

      10 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Jeanine Caterisano 

      10 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Crystal Randle, Bishop, Francis 

      10 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!

    • profile image

      Rose 

      11 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..

    • profile image

      Daniel pagan 

      11 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.

    • profile image

      Og Sin loc Blackburn Google search me 

      13 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Dinabug619 

      13 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..

    • profile image

      Clayton Murray 

      14 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

    • profile image

      Tammy curtiss 

      14 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

    • profile image

      Brandi rose 

      16 months ago

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

    • Jr Spears profile image

      Jr Spears 

      17 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Jamal 

      17 months 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 

      17 months 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 

      17 months 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 

      18 months 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 

      18 months 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.

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      Julia Walrath 

      18 months ago from Torrance, CA

      Elijahtonnie thank you for your comment!

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      Elijahtonnie 

      18 months 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.

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      Scott Inman 

      19 months 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 

      19 months ago

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

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      Carmen Vasquez 

      20 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 

      20 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 

      20 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 

      20 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. 

      20 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 

      20 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 

      20 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 

      21 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 

      21 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 

      23 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 

      23 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 

      23 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 

      23 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 

      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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

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      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 

      2 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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      MARE 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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!

    • profile image

      Maureen 

      2 years 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?

    • profile image

      Anthony Rodrigues 

      2 years 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 .

    • profile image

      Chuck 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Mark W Thompson 

      2 years 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.

    • julia6882 profile imageAUTHOR

      Julia Walrath 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      VirgoPoetry 

      2 years 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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