“Little Blonde Girl – Looking For A Family.. Will Do Chores!”

One of the most important moves of my life was when I was 10 years old.  At the time I was living in the Eileen Corbett Center in East Vancouver.  Basically it was like a jail for kids. By this point I had moved a total of 62 times since I was apprehended at seven years old.  So in a period of less than 4 years I would have moved over 60 times. Eileen Corbett  was a bad placement, they were apart of my lawsuit that took place starting in 2009, settling in June 2005.

Eileen Corbett was a placement that had each child in their own small locked room, with a window that was also locked so that it didn’t open wide enough for even a child to escape.  I did manage to gain quite a record of AWOL’s from E.C though.  I ran every chance I could.  This “home” was a terror for each child that was forced to reside there and to endure the ongoing sexual, and physical abuse.   I have a pretty clear memory now of what I went through there.   I didn’t remember fully of the terror until I was in my late teens when I suffered very intense flashbacks, and visceral reactions.

Some of those “homes” were simply a couple nights here, and a couple nights at another… I spent quite a bit of time sleeping in the Emergency Services office in New Westminster as well.  Many nights.. it got to the point that they wouldn’t even look for an emergency shelter for me to spend the night at – they would point to the leather love seat that was located in the lobby of E.S and tell me that I was just going to have to sleep there for the night.  Usually my social worker would then come in early and get me either back to my home – or start the task of trying to find me a new foster home.  Other times I would just get up and leave after getting myself warmed up, and got some food inside my belly.  More often than not I would convince myself I needed to run again.

I knew towards reaching age 11 that my luck was really going to be running out soon.  If they (Ministry) couldn’t find a permanent home for me – at least before I turned 12; well that could mean that I was going to be put into a locked facility long term.  This is something that Karen had been telling me over the last couple of years.  At one point they were so desperate to find me a home – they had actually posted an ad in a couple local newspapers for foster me.

One day I received a visit from my social worker to say that they had found a group home to move into.  It wasn’t going to be permanent, but it was supposed to be the last placement before my forever placement.  The place I would call my home for the next 18 months; Morley House.  Morley house was one of 5 group homes run by Browndale Care Society.  It was based out of Vancouver, BC.



Morley House would be a life changing place for me.  It’s where I would meet my future “Mom” Anj.  I met Anj very soon after moving into the group home.  I remember it being around Christmas time, there was still snow on the ground.  I remember the day a little bit when I first met Anj.  She was a resource worker for Browndale Care Society – she was not a foster parent – and hadn’t thought about being one until the day she met me she said.

It’s kind of a sweet story – Anj said on her way to Morley house that day she was pulling up onto our street and saw this little blonde girl walking up the side of the road with a large sign made out of cardboard with writing on it that said; “little blonde girl wants family, will do chores!”  Anj said she was both heartbroken and filled with love at the same time.  I guess now looking back I feel sad for her too – I was so willing to try anything!  I didn’t know it then, but 18 months later I would officially find out that Anj wanted to take me in and foster me permanently.


21 thoughts on ““Little Blonde Girl – Looking For A Family.. Will Do Chores!”

  1. Hi there – I found this post on a Google search for “Eileen Corbet” while I was thinking about my time there. I don’t have many memories from my time there. I would love to talk to you if you are open to it (although, I can completely understand if this too uncomfortable of a conversation!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I forgot to come back and respond! I was in the care of Eileen Corbett group home from approximately 1998-1999. This is the only post on the internet regarding Eileen Corbett, as far as I am aware. Absolutely crazy that no one has talked about this place! It was simply inhumane to put children under 12 in a setting like this… although, I do have some fond memories of going to the beach, biking, and playing on the playground. Do you have an email I could message you at? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oops, it failed to post and when I re-posted I forgot to check the box for notifications! Please reply here so I get a notification!


  4. i remember being at E.C as a child. i met quite a few youth there that i would end up eventually living with again to be able to get eventually down the road. i only remember the small rooms that had them very narrow windows that wouldnt open they remind now of prison windows. i also remember during only certain times during the day you were able to go outside and play and would have to basically run to the bike shed or equipment shed to be able to get the bike u wanted or the soccer ball or foot ball or any sports equipment as there wasnt enough for everyone to use cause there wa simply to many kids there. i alos remember one time there was a handful of us kids that eventually all met again later in life in either youth custody or another group home or foster home, anyways the handful of us which unfortunatley only 3 of the 6 of us are alive to this day i am now 35. but yeah we tried to go awol one day and as we thought we were slick and geting away we look back and there was this one staff female that resembelled G.I jane with the hair due nd what not and well she fit the roll of the nickname cause as we spot her there she is full stride gunning towards us and hoping the fences and bushes and any obsticale in front of her coming towards us and us being smaller and younger it was much harder to climb them fences as quickly so needless to say she did manage to catch us all failrly quickly and litterlly hog tie us all so that we couldnt run anymore and so that she could pick us up one by one and carry us back to the center like some hunted down wild pigs and also due to so many kids being there an over capacity when it came to playing the super nintendo u were allowed only 10-15mins each cause had to share with the others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was there when we got a Nintendo, we had The Legend of Zelda, and I played that thing like 4-7 hours a day. They would always tell me I was on it too much and force me outside. And I totally remember the race to the bike shed! Not just to get a bike, but to get the good bikes! I raced those bikes around the woods behind the school like a madman.


    2. Hi Cameron, Thank you for your message. I am curious what years you were there? Do you have any pics of your time there? Was GI Janes real name Sandy? How did life fair for you after EC? Do you remember a staff member nick named “rhyming rick”?

      Sorry for all the questions… hope it’s ok… ask away if you have any..


      1. faintly remember that staff and yes i too believe sandy was her name as it does ring a bell so very much and no any pics i have as a child growing up are gone due to me accidently leaving my photo album behind at one of the foster homes. as for the years living there i cant remebert exactly what years those were but gi jane was a relitively new movie and earth worm jim was a popular game for the snes that we played at ec.


      2. i remember after E.C that i was moved to a group home called hill house one which was by trout lake and was older females after a week being there they did move me to another group home run by the same lady but this one was by kootney loop bus loop area and was called hill house two but we called it hell house and thats where i met these 2 staff andrea and nigel who later on after quiting from the group home did become my foster parents


  5. I lived at Eileen Corbett in the Nootka wing 3 or 4 times as well as Hilltop 2x and many others.., I was moved around so much it’s hard to pin down the exact dates but I believe it was between 1985-1988, though I still have most if not all of my paperwork so I should be able to find the dates.

    I had posted about my own experience here previously, but it seems it didn’t go through 😦

    My memories of this place aren’t so bad, fortunately. Sure it sucked being kept away from my family, and the phone booth if it’s still there probably has some of my hateful messages carved into it, but I had my friend Billy Smith there and a girl by the name of Sheena who was in the Haida wing (I ran into her in 2001! It was so nice to see her again, sadly I didn’t get her number). I always wonder about Billy though, it’s a little hard to find someone with the last name “Smith”. All I can tell you was, he was Caucasian with blonde hair and around my age and our rooms were close to each other and we used to piss the staff off by chanting his initials “BS” over and over… lol

    Sheena got sprayed by a skunk in a tree at a playground once on our outing to Stanley Park and had to take a Tomato juice bath on the Gazebo.

    We got to play Floor hockey sometimes at Renfrew Elementary School, I also use to spend my allowance on Comics at the comic shop at Rupert and 22nd which is now gone 😦

    I would use the quiet time to read them in the little room with the toys in that bench if you can recall it. I think it was some hideous 70’s orange fabric…

    I remember playing Cricket on the Lawn, going for bike rides to Trout Lake, playing Hide & Seek in the back with the other kids. Our Teacher at the time was really nice, I forget her name. I do vividly recall the reward system in the school of Red and Blue washers that would go on some nails in a bit of wood with our names on them. I would sneak a few extra on mine when nobody was looking hehe.

    The one-armed chef! Who worked there for like EVER!

    I guess my memories of this place aren’t so bad, because when compared to other places I’ve lived, it made it seem like paradise.

    I actually have at least 2 Photos of myself here. One in the school, and one in the room with the weather/calendar chart. You know….today is Monday, yesterday was Sunday etc etc


  6. Not sure if it’s the same person you’re thinking of, but there was an African American man named Rick that was involved with E.C., I remember one year he took a van of kids Camping. I wasn’t able to go. His last name was Schultz (Well his wife’s anyways) and him and his wife Beverly (Bev) ran at least one house of their own in East Vancouver (Called Morely House iirc).

    Speaking of staff, anyone else have to see the therapist in the adjacent building/house on the upper floor?

    I have her name written down somewhere. She would tape our sessions on a cassette recorder and had lots of toys. Most vividly I recall were the miniature doll house?cereal box’s

    There was also a kid named Curtis, I believe his last name was Smith as well. We ended up running into each other quite a bit and almost lived together again in a home in East Van run by an Asian fellow named Alan. I forget his last name.


    1. I was in Morley House – I believe in the same time period… Do you remember some of the staff?? One of the resource workers actually took me in full time afterwards – Angine. Do you remember her at all? Little brown lady..


  7. I was in E.C when I was 7 years old I definitely didn’t have a good experience their I remember I was hit by one of the staff because i said he had a sad excuse for a life and that’s why he treated us badly he than choked me and punched me in the face and pushed me to the ground other staff had to intervene to stop him he was fired and the police took him from the centre. I remember seeing many kids trying too escape and the one I remember the most was a kid he was tackled by the fire exit and he had his face smashed into the ground he was bleeding all over the floor it was terrible I also heard a few rooms down from me at night one of the young boys was raped by a staff I will never forget how scared it made me feel. I kept it to myself because I didn’t want to make myself become a victim as well that place was terrifying at such a young age I was treated badly by the staff I also was thrown into the padded quiet room many times it had no light except for a small thin window by the ceiling

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jordan George. I first want to say how greatful I am that you took time out to write to my blog/myself and share some of your story. I think your incredibly brave. As are all the survivors out there – it’s insanly helpful to read peoples stories. Your email to me stopped me in my tracks. I held my hand up to my mouth and gasped…thinking so many things actually – but mostly how awful that you had to endure what you did at such a vulnerable young age. I am so sorry that you experienced such trauma at Eileen Corbett. I am so sorry for all of us kids that suffered immense damaging trauma there over the years. I can relate to you when you describe the fear felt. I had a viceral reaction reading your comments about the fire escape – and trying to escape. There have been many stories like yours and mine. It’s so important we get them all out.
      I am curious if you remember any of the staff members names? If your not comfortable sharing I totally understand, and respect that. Do you remember a staff member named “Ryhming Rick”? I am equally curious how life turned out for you? It’s crazy – but I ended up buying a home blocks from that place…so it feels like I can’t fully escape it.

      Sincerely, CM


    2. I don’t recall a padded room, where was that located if you can recall? I remember most of the layout. They locked me in my room a few times, perhaps they got rid of it, or it was added after I left (I was there in 85-88 roughly). I know my little class trailer later in life at nearby Nootka Elementary in ’91 had one and I spent a lot of time in that one.

      All of these stories are quite a shock to me, I was one of the lucky ones I guess, I thought that place was pretty good, but that was me comparing my personal experiences to the other nightmare abusive places I’d lived in over the years.

      I’m so sorry you’ve all had these experiences at E.C. the worst I had to deal with was bullying from some of the other boys and fighting over the bikes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s