Friday, October 03, 2008

Willowbrook State School--A Lesson For Humanity

Greetings All~

Welcome to a brief history of the Willowbrook State School, which includes a short story about one former resident's experience--my mother.

Although, Willowbrook has been closed for more than 20 years, it's presence lives on for those who have lived and worked there and for their families as well. Their stories and experiences are valued.

All comments are welcomed, especially personal experiences. Please feel free to post comments directly on the blog or if you like, you can contact me directly at Please put Willowbrook in the subject line.

Best Regards,
Vanessa Leigh DeBello

Willowbrook Documentary on Amazon

Get the new version of Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook, which includes the original footage of Geraldo Rivera's 1972 expose.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Access to Former Willowbrook Residents

Due to strict privacy laws, families are denied access to information about their relatives whereabouts. For some, it's a matter of knowing whether the individual is dead or alive, and if so, where are they located.

For families of deceased former Willowbrook residents, the question is, where are they now? There is no concrete information concerning the burials of these children. Some claim, that they were sent to mortuaries outside of the Willowbrook compound. However, reports were made by workers during the deconstruction of Willowbrook that bones were found on the property--no names, no dates.

To date, there has been no "official inquiry" made to OMRDD. Each month, individuals looking for information about family members come to this blog in hopes of finding a clue that might lead them to their long lost relative.

Below is the link to the May 8th, 2008 article in the New York Times about Jean Moore's experience looking for information about her deceased brother.

If you are looking for a missing relative, please feel free to post a comment in the section entitled "Get Connected with Other Willowbrook People," explaining your situation and/or email Vanessa Leigh DeBello at with Willowbrook in the subject line.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Other Articles about The Willowbrook State School

Below is the link to a New York Times article about the closing ceremony of the Willowbrook State School. The Institution was closed in 1987, but all its residents were not placed into group homes until 1992. Read below for more details.

Click on the link below to watch a short video clip from Geraldo Rivera's film--The Unforgotten. It will undoubtedly move you.