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.
A KID'S WORST NIGHTMARE? EXPERTS: PUT MACLAREN CHILDREN'S CENTER
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Paul Jacob Pimentel on October 20, 2020:
I was there for about 3 years...I remember them locking kids in a single cell to fight instead of seperating them to diffuse the situation and if you wanted to runaway they would let you they didnt give a shit.
Kayllie on October 02, 2020:
I was there (K cottage) in 1992...one of the worst years of my life. I remember everything vividly...still have problems. From this experience.
Tania on September 24, 2020:
I was here and seen a lot , I seen a lot of abuse but we would form groups and run away and when cops would find us they would bring you back to this place , staff was hell!
firstname.lastname@example.org on September 17, 2020:
Unfortunately, I was placed in this facility in 1963, due to my parents divorce. Although I was not sexually abused during my stay, I still bear the horrible emotional scars from what I was exposed to. It haunts me to this very day. I went from a very protective and sheltered home...to MacLaren Hall.
Mike on August 24, 2020:
I was there in the mid 90s and it was everything they said it was and more. I grew up in A cottage and it sucked.
Scott Inman from Scranton on August 20, 2020:
Donald, I was there off and on from 1990 to 1993 we probably crossed paths at one point.
Donald S Douglass on August 19, 2020:
I was there from 88 thru 98 off and on me and my brothers ended up being hard to place it would be interesting to reconnect with someone from that time in my life
Johnny S Sofranko on August 18, 2020:
My name is johnny sofranko
I was there for years from mid 70s up to 1985
My story is very long and has some good memories and bad.
But i can say i left several time with other friends and room #1 was true and staff abuse was true .i whiteness alot during my year's. I was in junior boys and senior boys .some of you that were there during the 80s may rember me as spider .
De Rraul on August 04, 2020:
I was there from 97 till they segregated it and made it a real juvenile prison like settings you can not go to school anymore with girls yard or anything there were lots of riots because staff was choking out friends of mine and also putting them in holding rooms with bullies I was there when friend of mine was brutally injured by staff other friends were choked out by staff arms broken and things of that sort the start unit was connected to Maclaren and I have to worst Walker ever I think his name was Johnson I myself was one of the many who escaped Maclaren I escaped during the days of the riding because of segregation from the females God bless everyone that has been through this situation with Maclaren and needs to be a lawsuit for all children that were there I seen babies in cages being nursed by the nurses there I pray that's something happens for all who has been there we all deserve something even if it's an apology but you can't take nothing back that they have done to us stay positive and focused you made it out of there I ran my ass off when the gates open one day I was 16 with a little baby boy in my star unit worker would not let me have home passes to see him one day they were going on a trip to the Laker game I waited by the key door soon as I heard that first buzz when they came back I ran out the gates laying down the street ran into some gang members that were Southsiders and told them I just escaped MacLaren Hall I need to get home can you help me get to the bus they help me and I'm black God is good
Roxanne Sterling from Oregon on June 01, 2020:
I grew up at Mac from '74 to '78 I lived in both buildings and remember carring my things to the new buildings during one of my stays. I was a ward of the state and this was the counties go to depository when a foster home failed .. I was a runaway over and over. Did not trust anyone. Short of writing abook here , I think the impotent thing to say is EVERYONE'S EXPERIENCE IS TRUE.. for me it was everything a prison movie depicts especially the old wagon wheel building. Coming into that gate with the police and arriving in that rotunda is forever eched in my mind.
At 58 years old I have nightmares only once a month now. Mac has haunted me all my life.
An acknowledgement to a few bright spots already mentioned ..Snuffy aka Greg Seniff ,two teachers one played music during classes the other I think was named Kathy a funny irish lady.
Looking back with adult eyes is appalling. I did learn not to pity myself after meeting kids who had a horrific home life. I was a ward of the state after a long and crazy family screwup. I just fell through the cracks of a custody dispute.
Thank you for this story and all those who commented
Roxanne "Cindy" Astor
George Oliver on May 02, 2020:
I was there in the 90s I remember a kid got all his front teeth knocked out by a staff member. I used to be there for months at a time. There were fun times like when Will Smith, Rosie Perez, and people like that came for celebrity day. I ate a lot of in and out burgers, but mostly it was hell lots of fighting is what I remember the most
Alexandria Lee Palma on April 29, 2020:
I was there early 90’s for i think about 9 months until i was transferred to placement. It was not a good experience. I still cry thinking about it. My husband says it sounds like a movie... unfortunately it wasn’t.
Cherie (Cheri) Anne Harlow on April 06, 2020:
I was there on and off in the early 80s was in the Senior Cottage once, then they stuck me in the pixie cottage after that. My time wasn't bad there until, one day I had it out with one of nurses at the clinic in the main building, because they tried to force an abortion on me at 4 month. Believe me, I cussed them out and walked back to the pixie cottage and told Snuffy what had happed. He called my Social Worker to have me and my unborn baby removed for our safty. That was 1982
I remember who donated to have the pool built along with the gazebo. I was there, when those stars came to visit us that year March 1985. I remember a staff in pixie cottage that we called Him Snuffy after the Elephant on Sesame Street.
Did Y'all know Nell Cater adopted her 2 boys from between 1984 to 1986. I'm throwing this out they are to whoever is reading this and is wanting to know or knows them can tell them. Because I was there when she came to MacLearn Hall that year to adopt her boys
Deondray Woods on January 28, 2020:
Melody J was there around the same time and have those good memories of visits from Kobe, Mack 10, LL Cool J and the movie nights. In fact, someone from my cottage asked LL Cool J for his FUBU puff jacket and he gave it to him. However, I also remember being restrained in a very physical manner for, "making too much noise at bedtime." I also witnessed others get beat and placed in R&R. Child abuse should never be the answer for a child's misbehavior. I even had a staff let me smoke one of their cigarette's because I didn't tell DCFS about his abusive behavior.
Lawrence Durand on January 27, 2020:
I worked there from the 1988-2000 as the lifeguard, saved many lives. Didn't like the staff roughness with the kids at times. They needed more safeguards for the children. It's a shame it went downhill.
Mark W Thompson on January 24, 2020:
Hopefully you see this Angie (and that you're the Angela Waite that was in Pixies cottege in the early 80s), just wondering if you had a brother named Marc (or Mark) who was in Sr Boys. We were friends while there but since it was before e-mail, we lost in touch when you two left. I was in Jr Boys at the time but we knew each other well because he'd go to Pixie cottage every day to visit (counselors there loved me so they'd have me come over to help every day.)
Angie M Waite on January 23, 2020:
I was there when i was 6 or 7 and had my arm broken i used to have a blader problem and was made to stand in the corners me and my siblings were seperated over medicated etc im glad they shut the place down
Patricia on January 05, 2020:
My 2 brother's and I were in MacLauren Hall around 1963/64 I believe. I was 9/10 then.
The Police rescued us when we were in a condemned building on 5th street in L.A. by skid row. Our Mother was gone for 3 days by then. We were taken to that place to stay till a foster home was available. They separated me from my younger brothers age 8/9, 2/3 yrs.
I was not allowed any physical touch to hug them, or see, or even talk to them when I would see them outside. We only had each other. I was there big sister! We had to remain in our lines. At bedtime, I was told if I went to sleep 1st., I would get to clean the dorm like room bathroom and scrub the toilet and get a Hersey bar. I got it once, I was too anxious to sit or lay still. I remember us all anxiously hoping to be placed in a foster home. We would be placed in a room with a big window, so potential foster parents could view us and take someone home. After many months of this routine, I finally had a family choose me. I don't remember anything good about that place. I thought my brother's & I would be together in the same home. I was sadly mistaken! We were separated. The Foster home I was in, was like a military camp.If I did not get up within 5 min. when told and have bed made, dressed and down stairs, I didn't eat!
I would work for hrs. in there gardens. Since my very long would get in the way. They decided to put a bowl over my head and cut it off.
If I had not believed in God who is bigger than all the pain and suffering I endured even to this day...I would be dead. Fear, doubt, distrust, severe anxiety is a constant battle to this day. Many broken relationships, poor choices, destructive behaviors, risk taking has taken it's toll on my life. I am now 67yrs old, and the memories still haunt me. I did not even know till recently that that place did not close down till 2003! I did not know there was help or attorneys who fought. I really didn't look back. I thought the place may not have been real! Prayers and hugs to all of you who suffered and still do.
Dawn Venegas on December 20, 2019:
I was at Maclaren Hall from 1964-1968 after being removed from my mother's custody for neglect and abuse. All my life I've had, what i believed to be memories or flashbacks of some abusive events while in my mother's care, but I was only with her from birth, 1962 til 1964 when i was 2 yrs old. My question is, could those flashbacks I've always believed to be my mother abusing me be in fact abuse I may have endured while i was at Maclaren Hall and I've mixed it all up in my head??? Is it possible to have such vivid and detailed memories at 2 yrs old? I'm so confused and I've only just very recently had this epiphany...
La Tonya Bell on December 18, 2019:
I want to SUE. Just like the children that was voilated by the preist. I want justic for what the staff did to me. How they stolen what innocents i had left. Mac will never close for me
scjoey on December 10, 2019:
I had a friend in the mid 1980s ('85-'86) named Jody Rodriguez, who always talked about Maclaren Hall. I never understood what he was talking about but, reading the article and comments, gives a better understanding. Can't speak on whether Maclaren was good or bad for him but, it did make him more open, outgoing, and approachable and he was a popular kid.
Scott Inman from Scranton on November 22, 2019:
For those who were there in the 90’s, why didn’t you speak up to the older kids? If someone came to me and said the staff was abusing them I would have spoke up for you. I know it’s a should of, could of type of thing but it does bother me.
Karla on November 21, 2019:
Our truth is relative and that MUST be respected. But let me say that in my cottage we didn’t have IN-N Out! I was there in the 90’s. Unfortunately this prison was the most stable “home” I ever had. I was 13 with the “older” kids but was so tiny that I had to go get clothes from a different cottage where the small children were housed. I walked through a hall of crying children locked in their rooms. This was not a dream people. This still haunts me. I got very i’ll and was sent to the nurses for amount a month, locked in a room alone. When I was being discharged I bumped into a girl who had given birth. She said she wasn’t allowed to carry her baby, the child was crying in a closet like room. Girls in my cottage were made to pee in cans, restrained by multiple people and thrown into the white room. The stories can go on and on! So please don’t tell me none of this was true. It was a prison for minors period.
Daniel pagan on October 30, 2019:
I was at maclaren off and on from 1999 -2002. When I first got there I was in A wing at the age of 11. It wasn’t until I had my 12th birthday that I moved to H cottage and the real brutality started. I, along with a bunch of other kids were victims of the agonizing and unnecessary restraints. It was as if the staff were looking for any petty reason to restrain us. You didn’t even have to be harming yourself or others. You could be doing something as simple talking after lights out you would be screwed. I’ve been in holds so bad I thought I was gonna die. They would twist you into awkward positions and pile on top of you at the same time to where you couldn’t breathe. Some of the staff even enjoyed hearing your scream in agony during the restraint. I remember being thrown in a closet like it was nothing, then dragged out shortly after for another round. Now age 32 as of July 2019. I would love to track down Eddie Flores and a couple others and kick some major ass.
Natasha Lowe on October 24, 2019:
I still have nightmares and issues from this place and starview
Bernie M on October 18, 2019:
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.
Keisha Jones on September 11, 2019:
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
Sam "blaze" G Cottage 1990 on August 18, 2019:
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.
Rwg1255Air1955 on August 09, 2019:
Roger W Graham
I was in McLaren Hall between 1969 and 1970 I cannot imagine how a State facility how the staff got away with what they did were doing two children. I was only 14 years old I was scared to death! I was checked out by the medical staff they took me to a shower, after given some Clothing then took me down this long hallway enter room but little did I know at that time that I would be in fights almost every day, by a group of five boys the oldest one being 15 he was in there for being a violent criminal. Even the staff was scared of that boy. I remember waking up at night with Children screaming I learned that it was the guards and the staff that was abusing the children. I was personally beat by the Staff I was raped buy one of the man that was a staff member every time he always tell me if I ever tell anybody, that He would kill me. The violence and reaping from the staff came quite frequently with me and other kids, If you tried to fight back it just made It worse the next day when no one was looking. At the age of 40 I was still having nightmares of everything that went on in McLaren Hall I'm so sad when I think about it and I think about it often, Even now at 63 Years of age. I cannot imagine the staff members getting away with what they did to me. It was Bad enough trying to survive with some of the kids that was in there, and the violent they were projecting every day they was fighting, and every day and having to deal with the Staff members when they were abusing me. I could not cry that would definitely make it worse. It was pretty overwhelming you couldn't even go to sleep at night on the mats they had to sleep on. Because you new who is coming after you! I can only say at this time two those that experience what I experience,Just take it day by day and soon, it may take years but you will be able to put it behind you.That is my hope for all.
Julia Walrath (author) from Torrance, CA on July 24, 2019:
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.
Mark W Thompson on July 24, 2019:
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.
Scott Inman from Scranton on July 23, 2019:
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.
Honor Dorm Cottage G on July 23, 2019:
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.
Mike davis on July 21, 2019:
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 .
Shana on July 14, 2019:
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.
linda on July 05, 2019:
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.
Scott Inman from Scranton on June 07, 2019:
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.
Blanca robledo on June 06, 2019:
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.
Erica Tyler on June 03, 2019:
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.
FRED WADE Jr on May 29, 2019:
I was there majority of my life as a young teenager
NB on May 13, 2019:
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.
TJ on April 18, 2019:
I was there summer of 85, where do I get the records?
Jeremy on April 03, 2019:
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
Mary on March 31, 2019:
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?
Ruben on March 25, 2019:
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
Patty Harrison on March 24, 2019:
Can any tell me where I can get the records from the 60's
Jen LaGuardia on March 19, 2019:
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.
Ruben on March 18, 2019:
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 .
Cristal on March 17, 2019:
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 from Yuma on March 11, 2019:
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
Scott Inman from Scranton on March 06, 2019:
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.
P.D on March 05, 2019:
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 on February 21, 2019:
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 .
foster83 on February 20, 2019:
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?
foster83 on February 19, 2019:
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.
Melody j on February 19, 2019:
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
Nikki Hamilton on February 13, 2019:
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
george cave on February 07, 2019:
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 on January 18, 2019:
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.
Christina M. on January 17, 2019:
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...
Nakell Jackson on January 13, 2019:
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 on January 04, 2019:
Thank you Scott
Scott Inman from Scranton on January 02, 2019:
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 on December 30, 2018:
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.
Rub on December 14, 2018:
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
Donna on December 13, 2018:
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.
Gina on December 05, 2018:
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
tony on November 27, 2018:
some of the allegations listed above are not true
sally from valley on October 29, 2018:
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.
Scott Inman from Scranton on October 28, 2018:
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.
Maya on October 28, 2018:
Sally from Valley, You were there when I was there!
Kristina Middlebrooks on October 27, 2018:
If possible I’d like to claim a law suit for pain and suffering please. I still suffer today from mistreatments.
Kristina Middlebrooks on October 27, 2018:
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.
Sally from valley on October 25, 2018:
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.
Ruben Rodriguez on August 23, 2018:
I was there in the mid 80s and i was abuse by staff members
Lacora on August 19, 2018:
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
Scott Inman from Scranton on August 13, 2018:
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
donajs on August 11, 2018:
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!
Ebony on July 30, 2018:
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!
Peg on June 04, 2018:
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 :(
ddonaldhart7811 on May 12, 2018:
@rose.we all loved you.
ddonaldhart7811 on May 12, 2018:
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
email@example.com on May 10, 2018:
I was there in 1965 I was horribly abused I staff my older children and by the doctors
Jeanine Caterisano on May 09, 2018:
I'm looking for the paper work to file a lawsuit claim please?
Jeanine Caterisano on May 08, 2018:
I was there when I was three would there be records?
Crystal Randle, Bishop, Francis on May 04, 2018:
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!
Rose on April 14, 2018:
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..
Daniel pagan on March 29, 2018:
@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.
Og Sin loc Blackburn Google search me on February 19, 2018:
I was there back in 1977 man you should here my testimony!!!!
Dinabug619 on February 07, 2018:
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..
Clayton Murray on January 05, 2018:
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
Tammy curtiss on December 29, 2017:
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
Brandi rose on November 03, 2017:
Maclaren hall was Miserable!!!!!!! I to am a victim of it's horrors!
Jr Spears on October 15, 2017:
I know ppl in this room knows me hit me ig or FB
Jamal on October 14, 2017:
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
Scott Inman from Scranton on October 11, 2017:
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.
Steven Hunt on October 10, 2017:
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.
Valerie Jones on September 11, 2017:
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
Renee on September 07, 2017:
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.
Julia Walrath (author) from Torrance, CA on September 01, 2017:
Elijahtonnie thank you for your comment!