Photos from our 90th Anniversary Celebration on October 23, 2014
A Photo Collection of Clinic History
90th Anniversary October 23rd Celebration


Established in 1924, the Clinic broke ground on a new West Adams Blvd. site in 1962.

Click here for a 1924 edition of the Los Angeles Times announcing the “Child Guidance Clinic

Credit to Los Angeles Times Staff. Copyright © 1924. Los Angeles Times. Reprinted with Permission.


Jada Rodriguez, left, shares the Clinic’s appreciation of our staff at the 90th Anniversary BBQ celebration with a photobooth kiss for her mom, Tiffany Rodriguez, Vice President of Programs.

“Our 90th Anniversary will enable the Clinic to build awareness; to thank our donors, friends, elected officials and staff; and, as an organization, look forward to the next 90 years.”
— David L. Hirsch, Esq.
Chair of the Board’s Anniversary Committee


On Saturday, April 12, the Clinic hosted more than 90 staff members, together with their families, for a 90th Anniversary BBQ celebration. Ana Tinoco Lopez, left, a longtime facilities team member, enjoyed the day with her children.


Nine Decades Innovating Mental Health Services for Children

The year was 1924, and the City of Los Angeles just topped 1 million in population. Mulholland Highway and MGM Studios opened for business. And on a February afternoon, attendees at a festive reception just south of downtown celebrated the launch of a new clinic that would bring children’s mental health services in L.A. into the modern era.

“Of far-reaching import to parents and children of Los Angeles, announcement was made yesterday of the establishment of a child guidance clinic in the city,” reported the Feb. 6 Los Angeles Times. The Child Guidance Clinic of Los Angeles, as it was then known, opened as one of eight such programs across the U.S. developed by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene with funding from the Commonwealth Fund.

In an era where terms like “insane asylum” and “lunacy laws” typified the response to mental illness, the Committee sought to “humanize the public attitude.” Their child-guidance approach emphasized “consideration of the individual child as a living, functioning, physical and mental whole.”

This philosophy was detailed a few years later by the Clinic’s first director, Ralph P. Truitt, M.D, in the American Journal of Public Health. “The idea was to detect and treat children’s difficulties at a stage when actual care in the community was still possible,” he wrote, “and community resources could be used effectively in a preventive way.”

Nine decades later, the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic (the name changed in the 1960s) remains dedicated to prevention and early intervention as central to community mental health and well-being—a remarkable living legacy of that early vision. “Not a lot of things in Los Angeles last 90 years. This anniversary is cause for celebration,” says David L. Hirsch, Esq., Member of the Clinic’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Board’s Anniversary Committee.

Throughout 2014, the Clinic is marking the anniversary with a celebratory gathering for staff and family, a gala event in the fall to thank donors and friends, as well as commemorations with elected officials. An educational video spotlighting the Clinic’s special focus on the impact of trauma on children will soon be released.

“Our 90th anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to not only reflect on the remarkable success of the Clinic’s founders, but to continue their work,” says Elizabeth W. Pfromm, M.S., MPA, Clinic President/CEO. “Today we do so by bringing greater awareness to the importance of expert, evidence-based mental health services in creating healthier children and families, and stronger communities.”

The Clinic doors first opened at 1401 Grand Avenue. By 1925, it welcomed a new sponsor: the Southern California Society for Mental Hygiene, with funding from the Community Welfare Foundation, later the United Way.

In the 1940s, the Clinic pioneered a multi-disciplinary team approach to treatment to best understand children’s needs and develop individualized treatment plans for improved emotional and behavioral outcomes.

In 1965, the Clinic launched a partnership with USC, training new generations of child psychiatrists and psychologists. Quinton C. James, M.D., was in that first USC program. He later worked for the Clinic as a child psychiatrist, then joined its Board in 1990.

The community around the Clinic evolved over the decades, says Dr. James, attracting a diverse population that included African-Americans and Latinos. “The demographics changed, but the Clinic stayed and served the people who needed its programs.”

In the 1980s, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health began contracting with the Clinic to provide expert, state-mandated services to children—a partnership that has benefited many thousands of children and youth.

In 1994, after receiving a transformational gift from benefactors Harriet and Charles Luckman, the Clinic opened its own building at 3787 S. Vermont Avenue, now home to its busy walk-in Access Center. Seven years later, a second Clinic building opened up the street at 3031 S. Vermont Avenue.

Today, the Clinic remains in the forefront of innovation. In recent years it has emerged as the recognized leader locally in trauma-informed care. Notes President/CEO Pfromm, “We are passionate about addressing the impact of child traumatic stress with research-validated practices that support lifelong health, social and emotional well-being, and success.”


Pioneering a Legacy

  • The Child Guidance Clinic of Los Angeles opened in 1924 – the first west of the Rockies.
  • Clinic staff saw some 300 children the first year.
  • We were one of eight demonstration clinics across the U.S., which eventually grew to 22 by 1933.
  • Our first home was within the Anita Baldwin Hospital for Babies on Grand Avenue.
  • In the 1960s, we moved to a Richard Neutra-designed building on West Adams Boulevard, part of the USC campus.
  • In 2013, we served 3,848 children and family members, with 62,582 outpatient visits to schools, clients’ homes, and other community sites.