Welcome to MacLaren Hall Survivors!

This site was created just for you–by others just like you–-we who’ve experienced and survived portions of our childhood at the now infamous child “protective facility” known as MacLaren Hall, located in El Monte, California.

What we all generally share in common as adults today is our varied stories of personal suffering associated with childhood abuse and neglect. This commonality reveals what for the majority of us here is perhaps the most painful of all realizations concerning our shared youth: We were each denied in more or less ways that which every child has a right to and naturally thirsts for, namely, authentic parental love.

But we also know as victims thirsty for such love, that we became double victims…

Already bewildered, fear-filled, and traumatized by violence and destruction present within our families, Tens of Thousands of us children found ourselves further betrayed and brutalized through placement within a county-run institution originally established for the sake of defending the common good of society– An institution that we know now failed in protecting and defending that most uncommon good found within every society—its children.

Some of us did not survive; suicide and self-destructive behavior remains a real threat for some; siblings are lost and families remain disunited; psychological and spiritual scars linger and go on untreated; unspeakable acts of evil from the past are left unspoken by both the guilty and the innocent–and so, there are needs…  

Recourse to healing is needed, yet, this requires truth so that justice will act accordingly; that both truth and justice might walk together this path of need, forgiveness, reconciliation, and wholeness of heart. 

The purpose of this blog is to aid you, to empower you as a survivor of MacLaren Hall. It’s a sure refuge of gathered survivors sharing their stories and joined together in outreach to other victims of institutional abuse — to educate them — to seek justice on their behalf — to befriend them with hope.

MacLaren Hall Survivors — 2010

35 Responses “ABOUT US” →

  1. james mccombs

    December 12, 2010

    I have not seen this site before, is this new? I am the first to post here? hmm I guess I will wait and see.


  2. Patricia Boone

    July 14, 2011

    Hello All!!! I spent most of my state baby years bouncing back and forth to Mac. I still have anxiety when I think of the pink nightgowns with the bear holding the heart on the right side. From 1987-1995 I was there. Pixies, I, and J cottage. If anyone can remeber the sprinkler incident then you would remember me. Please contact me. I know do motivational speaking and would love to put together a panel so that we may educate others about the dangers of wherehousing children.


  3. Your name sound like i might have ran into you there?

  4. I am a mac survivor and some of you may remember me. Sprinkler incident at new mac in the 70s during the time of the BIG awol. Visit me at http://www.usurpatory.com . I was at both the old mac and new mac, during late 1960s throughout the 1970s . Illegal incarceration …

  5. Oh, to the moderator of this website. I want to say thank you for letting us post!!!!


  6. Judi Treble

    February 12, 2012

    Hello, I was there in 1957 and have no memories of such horrors, I also volunteered at the school there in 1975, I did not know of any abuse. I am so sorry that you had to go through this. It is so hard to belive that the people taking care of children would do this to you. Judi T
    I was lucky, but maybe I don’t want to remember what happened. I was only around 5 when I was there so it is hard to remember


  7. Jewellee Collins

    March 8, 2012

    I was there for about a year in 1988 (I think), in J cottage and I…just wanted to say hi


  8. patricia

    March 17, 2012

    Hi Zulma,

    You may have. I was there a lot…and spent most of my time in I cottage. When were you there?


  9. Bevi Harting Cummings

    May 28, 2012

    My name is Bevi Harting Cummings I stayed at Mac Claren Hall sometime between 1955 to 1959 I do not remember the date my mother did not want me and she would not give me to my Dad. So I spent time there and still have nightmare of things that went on there.I’m now 61 and still have the marks left by them.If anyone remember me contact me at


    • Hi Bevi, you have a good memory that far back. I was also at MC Hall in the late 1950’s. I think I was only there 1 time and the only thing I remember was my room that I stayed in. I don’t remeber abuse. I may be blocking it. I know that abuse did happen there because of all the people who write into this site and tell what happened to them. What kind of abuse do you remember in the time you were there?

  10. I to was award of the state as a child. My sisters and I were taken from my mother, I was only 8, my youngest sister was only a baby. She does not remember much but i do. My two older sisterds did not spend as much time as I did in Mac Hall. They were fortunate, my uncle took them into his custody but chose to not take me. He reason was, girls are easier to care for. I stayed in Mac Hall for about a year it seemed. My mother continued to fight so the state could not permitley place me until the case was done. Mac Hall was terrible, I suffered mental and physical abuse the whole time I was there. I was teased for being over weight, the weight was due to the pain i felt not having my mother. There was no support, no counceling, no love what so ever. It was the worst experience of my life and I still suffer. I have sleeping issues which has caused me to turn to drinking. I have anxiety issues that cause me to over think, panic. I tend to push people away, I believe the reason for this is caused by the state. As i grew older, they moved me aro0und from placement to placement that was more age appropiate. All together I believe I spent about 4 years enduring this as a child. I would love to actually know how much of that time was spent in Mac Hall. I believe i have blocked out a lot of the bad and filtered the good, little as that was.

    My name is John and I am a survivor of Mac Hall.

    • I too was there when I was a child. I remember the being there. With my brother. And it was a prison for kids. Inocent kids like my brother and myself. I still can’t put this behind me. I suffer from anxiety. I’m 42 years old now but I still need help from having been placed there I remember all this with sadness and anger towards the system that put me there when I was just a 6 to seven year old. I want to go to that place and face my demons. One day I will have the courage to go there. I still remember crying myself to sleep. And it just kills me all over again. That place was like hell. Please help Me!! I am Mike Hurt. I was there in the 1970s. The abuse that went on at Maclaren hall. I will never be able to forget. Its tough its just like living with terminal illness that u have to live with and is killing u daily!!!!! I would like to meet people like me. That shared the Maclaren expirience. 323 365 0 412. Mike h.


  11. Harrison Buckley

    October 14, 2012

    Lived in Mac Hall when i was young, at 9, 15, and 16… shout oout to all the kids who didnt let the system fuck ur mind up. Group Home kid to the fullest.College educated, state certified, and still tryin to make it big. All those who was in there in the early 90’s you might know me….keep movin forwards. 89. 95, 96 the years iwas there.


  12. Robert Stitt

    December 3, 2012

    i was in MAc in 94-95 i was in junior boys then señor boys! during that time it was just like a little prison,,,i remmember wede have little rommances going on and we got to see them on the yard!! alot of bad memorys but they did bring in a bannan split the size of the whole field,,i awaled through the kitchen and over the gate and stayed homless for 2 months!! they made me sit in a chairin the halls for hella days!! and had some older staff beat the shit out of me and then restrain me ,,oh man good times!! someone can seriously make a movie about tht place and other grouphomes in LA,,anyways im a good loving single dad and came out ok..im a little crazy when pushed ,,i just dont get pushed ,,but forget this place you guys have no idea about the psychiatric Hospitals they put you in ,,once you bite someones facehalf off cuz hes 17 and your 13 and staff is letting him do it ,,and hes just to big,,so you loose it ,,oh yea they put you there! man i miss those days!! NOT


  13. Kymberly chase

    January 13, 2013

    Hello my name is Chase , my boyfriend grew up in the system and is still scarred and will be forever scarred by Mac Claren hall..I am a writer and decided something needs to be said Again about this haunted house that so many children had to endure ..I would like to interview anyone that would like to be quoted or his or her story told..my email is Chasefaces@gmail.com.

  14. I was in Maclaren hall when I was 11 yrs old. I’m now 56 & I remember my horors. My life at home was hard since my only brother drowned in an accident and he was the only boy of of 4 sisters. Maclaren Hall is still a night mare to me. I’m greatful I’m not the only one who feels this pain that I have caried all these years.

  15. I was here on three different occasions. For the most part it was during the Persian Gulf conflict: Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I remember watching the strikes on CNN.

    But I remember abuse and neglect mostly. I have two other people in my life that I have found through my photography that were housed here, perhaps around the same time… There stories are similar to mine, but for the most part I blocked out most of the disgusting things I saw and heard.

    I am now 35 and I survived. I never joined a street gang, I was never addicted to drugs and I have only been to jail once. I have done pretty well.

    • I’ve been to jail a few times now. I smoke weed and I pound beer in piss alleys with taggers and thugs.

      I have an interview for a job in the afternoon. I’m trying to maintain. I wanna find a lady to love–it’s what I’m missing most in life.

      My photography is life and death, G.


  16. romanomarco

    March 19, 2013

    I was here on three different occasions. For the most part it was during the Persian Gulf conflict: Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I remember watching the strikes on CNN.

    But I remember abuse and neglect mostly. I have two other people in my life that I have found through my photography that were housed here, perhaps around the same time… There stories are similar to mine, but for the most part I blocked out most of the disgusting things I saw and heard.

    I am now 35 and I survived. I never joined a street gang, I was never addicted to drugs and I have only been to jail once. I have done pretty well.


  17. Frank M.

    April 26, 2013

    HI, My name is Frank and I was there in 1961-62 for the crime of runaway. I have seen much physical punishment to others but not to me personally. I recall being confined to our beds and told to stay quiet for days at a time except for meals and school. It was a harsh place and I was glad to leave it. I had thought about escaping but had no place to go. I ran away from abuse only to end up there.with more violence and mental anguish around me. I have been told that Runaway is no longer treated as a crime. Way too late for the many kids that were confined there. Too late for me! The school was nice and without problems. The princible was named Mr. Baum ( I thought it was Mr. Bomb.). Once per week we were shown a movie and given a Hershey bar. Those were the ONLY good things about Mclaren hall! I was 9 years old.


  18. lbmauk

    May 3, 2013

    Hi, Lorie Emerson with my brother around 1984. We were treated worse than criminals. No rights. Lice showers. Possessions taken without receipt. Solitary confinement. Told not to cry, be grateful we had food… And the charges against my father were dropped after 6 weeks. I want my records, any advice? lbmauk@yahoo.com


  19. Bill Scott

    June 5, 2013

    Not sure if you guys are still around but I was at Mac in 89. Looking for others that been there as well. Would like to hear there stories and share my own.

    • Bill– There is an private Mac Hall Page on Facebook if your interested. Let me know, and I’ll get you into the group. You’ll, of course, need a Facebook account.. Jim

  20. I was there in 1955 and I will tell you whatever you want to lnow

    • Hi Bevi; Early history of Mac Hall is obscure at best. Can you fill in some blanks with what you know? Did you work there or were you placed there? Don’t think we know of anyone in this group that was there in ’55… Wow. Also, there is a private Mac Hall Facebook page if your interested… Thanks for responding…

  21. yes I was there in 89…


  22. James Nice

    July 8, 2013



  23. Judi Treble

    July 8, 2013

    I was there in the middle to late fifties, I was born in 1952 and I remember I was young I think I was 5 years,. I think that is why I don’t remember any horrors


  24. Pamela Mitchell

    July 13, 2013

    I was in there in 1966 and just remember getting up marching to breakfast hall then to school. i was only 10 and a ward of the state becausae of my mom and then taken to a foster home. I was wondering if there was a way to find any records of me being there. i dont remember any bad moments and i hope i have the right place. i was taken there in the middle of night ans given a bath and dont even remember how long i was there.

  25. I was there in 1968 with my 4 sisters. My oldest sister, they broke her arm & she has 3 pins in it to this day. I was 11 years old & my younger sister who is 15 months younger then myself, they held a pillow over her head & would not take it off until she shut up.

  26. my names Eric not as their 1980 Darren a great straight anybody remember that

  27. I was there and 1980 during the Great Escape does anybody else remember that

  28. I was there in 1962 for 11 months and had considered escape over the chain link fence or under the gate in front but I had no idea where I was and going home was not an option.
    It was a very helpless feeling. I was there for the crime of runaway.

  29. By the way…After Mac Hall I was sent to Camarillo State Hospital and I believe there is a copy of my Mac Hall records within my hospital records. If others were sent there after MCH maybe you can find your records there too.


  30. Candy Bates

    November 15, 2013

    Camarillo State Hospital closed down years ago. It’s now a college. I moved to Camarillo in 1987 & lived there until 2007 then moved to Nevada. Hospitals are only required to keep medical records for 7 years. You might be able to find in in micro film. I hope this will help you. Good luck.


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