EDITORIAL HOUSE OF HORRORS.LOS Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. County officials like to point fingers over who's to blame for the travesty that is the MacLaren Children's Center in El Monte El Monte (ĕl mŏn`tē), city (1990 pop. 106,209), Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1912. A residential, industrial, and commercial city in the San Gabriel Valley, El Monte manufactures furniture, electronic equipment, semiconductors, , but they should be pointing at themselves.
Numerous audits and innumerable first-hand reports confirm, as the Daily News reported Sunday, that the county-run facility is a house of horrors.
But year after year, study after study - and now, even a civil lawsuit - can't seem to spur the sort of radical overhaul that MacLaren needs.
The ever-mounting charges against the facility are horrific: overcrowding overcrowding
overcrowding of animal accommodation. Many countries now publish codes of practice which define what the appropriate volumetric allowances should be for each species of animal when they are housed indoors. Breaches of these codes is overcrowding. , putting a dangerous mix of abuse victims and potentially violent children under one roof, dehumanizing strip searches, staff using excessive force and phony criminal allegations to keep kids in line.
All this for the astronomical price of $51 million a year.
That comes to almost $1,000 per child per day - or $336,895 per child per year. To handle 150 kids, MacLaren has a staff of 500 well-paid professionals, including 80 mental-health experts.
Yet neither money nor an ample staff seems to make any difference.
The allegations of abuse and mismanagement mis·man·age
tr.v. mis·man·aged, mis·man·ag·ing, mis·man·ag·es
To manage badly or carelessly.
mis·manage·ment n. at the shelter are nothing new.
In the mid-1980s, MacLaren staff members were criminally prosecuted and fired for dealing drugs and abusing children. In 1997, a 12-year-old MacLaren boy died after inhaling fumes fumes
odorous gases and other volatile materials; inhalation of irritating fumes causes coughing and, if sufficiently severe, irreversible pulmonary edema. from a can of hair mousse.
MacLaren is the county's only shelter for youngsters recently removed from their parents' custody or whose placement in foster or group homes failed. This includes children from the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. .
In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , local kids who have already had to endure all sorts of pain and hardship then find themselves stuck interminably at MacLaren - where they experience more of the same.
It's an outrageous shame.
For its part, the county's main response to the ongoing tragedy has been a couple of bureaucratic reorganizations - shifting personnel around and placing the facility under the control of different public agencies.
Obviously, that strategy has failed. It's time It's Time was a successful political campaign run by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) under Gough Whitlam at the 1972 election in Australia. Campaigning on the perceived need for change after 23 years of conservative (Liberal Party of Australia) government, Labor put forward a to look at a bolder approach to handling MacLaren - like closing it down altogether.
Clearly the county isn't fit to run a facility of MacLaren's size and scope. Moreover, group and foster homes tend to be a better and more economical way to care for troubled children.
The Board of Supervisors ultimately is responsible for this mess and needs to see that it is cleaned up. The supervisors should each be held accountable.
Perhaps the best thing the county can do for the abused and neglected kids at MacLaren is get them out - then shut the doors forever.