Scope and Content
Conditions Governing Use
Conditions Governing Access
Title: El Nido Services and Lodges records
Collection number: 0409
USC Libraries Special Collections
Language of Material:
2.5 Linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1932-1986 (bulk 1970s-1980s)
The El Nido Services and Lodges records cover the practical details of El Nido's operations, 1930-1980, documenting its real
estate management, zoning battles, tax questions, insurance and "disaster preparedness" provisions, and occasional personnel
problems of this social service agency. Originally a project of the Los Angeles Section of the National Council of Jewish
Women, the Section established a Children's Bureau in Los Angeles in 1925, and three years later built a camp for underprivileged
and "pre-tubercular" girls in Laurel Canyon. Control of El Nido eventually passed to the Council of Jewish Women of Los Angeles,
Inc., and during the 1970s, with the increasing diversity of Los Angeles' communities, control of El Nido passed from the
Section to a new Board of Directors. By 1981, the El Nido organization that these records document no longer existed; it became
known, in 1981, as Children, Youth and Parent Counseling.
El Nido Services (Los Angeles, Calif.).
National Council of Jewish Women. Los Angeles Section.
El Nido Family Centers.
Scope and Content
The El Nido Services and Lodges records, 1930 to 1980, consist of administrative records, blueprints, epehemera and photographs,
that document the day to day activities of this social service organization. The records cover the practical details of El
Nido's operations in all phases of its existence during this period. Documented are its real estate management, zoning battles,
tax questions, insurance and "disaster preparedness" provisions, and occasional personnel problems.
El Nido was originally a project of the Los Angeles Section of the National Council of Jewish Women. This group established
a Children's Bureau in Los Angeles in 1925, and three years later built a camp/residential center for underprivileged and
"pe-tubercular" girls in Laurel Canyon. From 1933 until the early 1940s, the residential center served girls living in the
Los Angeles area who had behavioral problems, or who required health service for such problems as tuberculosis or eating disorders,
and who were in need of "special vocational guidance." At some point thereafter, operation of the Children's Bureau passed
to the Council of Jewish Women of Los Angeles, Inc. This California corporation, with identical membership to the Los Angeles
Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, may have been organized as a parallel agency to facilitate local fund raising
and participation in the Los Angeles Community Chest.
During World War II and its aftermath the Los Angeles Jewish Women's Council was particularly concerned with the welfare of
emigres from Nazi oppression in Europe. The Children's Bureau Agency used the Laurel Canyon center as a temporary Jewish refugee
center for children going into the American foster care system and for young immigrant single mothers or widows with young
children adapting to the United States as their new home. Working with the National Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Los
Angeles Emigre Service, the Agency created and ran "Americanization and Naturalization programs" on behalf of their foreign
In 1954, the Council's articles of incorporation stated its purpose "to sponsor a social agency carrying on a program of social
service in the fields of child guidance, service to the foreign born, and such other social service programs as the Los Angeles
Section of the National Council of Jewish Women shall agree upon." By the mid 1950s most Jewish refugees bound for Los Angeles
had arrived and been given full assistance by the Council, and the agency's attention began to focus exclusively on disadvantaged
adolescent girls. During the 1960s and 1970s, due to the rapidly increasing ethnic diversity of Los Angeles communities, the
Children's Bureau Agency began servicing disadvantaged adolsescent girls, some with a history of violence, many of whom were
wards of the local Court System, with residential therapy and counseling services. Their problems ranged from such school
difficulties as truancy, to criminal activities such as prostitution, gang membership, and substance abuse. In addition, the
purposes of the Los Angeles Council of Jewish Women began to diverge from those of its originator, the National Council of
Jewish Women. El Nido had always been non-sectarian in its staffing and service policies, but in the 1970s the rapidly increasing
ethnic diversity of the communities in which it operated created a need for an ethnically and culturally diverse board of
directors rather than with one with membership drawn solely from the Los Angeles Section of the National Council of Jewish
Women. The complicated split between "the Section" and El Nido, finalized in 1978, freed the agency from sectarian obligation,
but also left it without the financial support and sponsorship of the National Council of Jewish Women.
In the mid-1970s El Nido Services owned and operated three residential lodges for troubled teenage girls, and also started
an outreach program of preventative counseling for at-risk youth in Los Angeles school districts. However, in 1980, El Nido
Services lost the lease of its largest residential building, making operation of its smaller units economically impossible.
Building on the outreach program in the Los Angeles school district, the board members of the Agency reorganized their operations
in 1981 to provide a variety of counseling services from newly established outpost offices to fifteen Los Angeles communities
under a new name: Children, Youth and Parent Counseling. The goals of the counseling program were threefold. They centered
on preventive intervention: to avert future emotional problems of children of divorced parents; to support the completion
of school and provide job placement skills for teen-agers who became parents; and to provide alternative activities for young
adults at high risk for becoming involved in criminal activities.
These agency records, which cover the most mundane practical details of El Nido's operations, documenting its real estate
management, zoning battles, tax questions, insurance and "disaster preparedness" provisions, and occasional personnel problems,
reflect also the difficulties confronting an agency in the late 1970s that found itself providing outmoded services to a radically
changed client population. As El Nido negotiated to free itself from close association with the Section, it also re-evaluated
its program and its ability to manage, as an open institution, the increasingly violent and seriously delinquent girls referred
to it by county probation departments. The loss if its largest facility in 1980 provided an opportunity for El Nido to reassess
its organization. By then welfare policy makers, and some legislators, had begun to promote family preservation in virtually
all circumstances, and to disfavor social services provided to adolescents separated from their families in residential facilities.
That the El Nido board of directors was deeply engaged in the debate is evident from legislative material collected here,
and from its correspondence, particularly with the California Association of Children's Residential Centers which was leading
an advocacy campaign in the legislature for maintenance of residential services.
In 1981, after the inevitable closure of the residential facilities which had been the setting for El Nido's operation for
decades, the agency turned to the business of fund raising, promotion, and development of outpost offices where it would provide
a variety of social services in fifteen Los Angeles communities under a new name--Children, Youth & Parent Counseling.
Conditions Governing Use
The use of archival materials for on-site research does not constitute permission from the California Social Welfare Archives
to publish them. Copyright has not been assigned to the California Social Welfare Archives, and the researcher is instructed
to obtain permission to quote from or publish manuscripts in the CSWA's collections from the copyright holder.
Conditions Governing Access
Advance notice required for access.
[Box/folder# or item name], El Nido Services and Lodges records, Collection no. 0409, California Social Welfare Archives,
Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
There are ten series within the collection, and no sub-series. The largest series consist of minutes from annual meetings
and committee work of the Agencies board of directors. The creators grouped these records according to subject, and within
each folder they are, for the most part, arranged chronologically. For maximum accessibility, this finding aid lists the series
alphabetically by name. However, since the original order for these records was maintained, the series appear in the boxes
in the following order: By-laws; Tax Status; Property Management; Budget; Board of Directors; Public Relations; Correspondence;
Programs; Fundraising; and Publications.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
California Association of Children's Residential Centers, Inc.. -- Correspondence
El Nido Services (Los Angeles, Calif.). -- Archives
National Council of Jewish Women. Los Angeles Section. -- Archives
Child welfare--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Family services--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Los Angeles (Calif.)--Social conditions--Archival resources
Social service--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Social work administration--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Social work with immigrants--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Social work with teenagers--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
Youth--Services for--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources