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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

A Child's Wish

March 14, 2003

Re "County Closes Center for Troubled Children," March 11:

More than 30 years ago I wrote an article about MacLaren Children's Center (then MacLaren Hall) for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. I've been haunted by that terrible place ever since. I'll never forget a heart-rending poem that was tacked to a bulletin board in a narrow, dim corridor of the institution. "Oh wish me to parents that will love me. Let me start life over somewhere out there...."

I hope the girl who wrote that found love. I've wondered what happened to her. We must do more to make her dream a reality for kids like her -- so many innocent victims.

Rena Dictor LeBlanc

Sherman Oaks

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