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Children's Institute International (CII) is an anti-child abuse organization in Los Angeles that was started in 1950 as "The Colleagues" to raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters.[1] The organization played a role in the McMartin preschool trial, interviewing children suspected of being abused using methods that were at the time completely new, and proved to be controversial.[2][3]

McMartin preschool trial

CII played a major role in the McMartin preschool trial, one of the first and certainly largest criminal trial that was part of the day care sex abuse hysteria and satanic ritual abuse moral panic. Before the trial, CII investigated primarily physical abuse, with a small section that conducted infrequent medical examinations and interviews with children involved in child sexual abuse allegations. Kee MacFarlane, an employee at the center, had the idea to use hand puppets and anatomically correct dolls during interviews with children, believing they would aid disclosure and therapeutic recovery. The initial interviews were taped, and later the sections of the tape in which the children actually made disclosures were shown to parents to convince them their children had been abused. The agency ultimately interviewed more than 350 children who were involved in the trial,[4] using techniques that, when tested, were found to be superior to simple suggestion in causing children to make false allegations.[5][6] CII also received $350,000 in state funding in 1985, becoming the first publicly-funded training center for the diagnosis and treatment of child abuse.[4] Kee MacFarlane was criticized for her relationship with Wayne Satz, the KABC-TV reporter who first disclosed the accusations against the McMartins.[7]


  1. "Children's Institute International". Children's Institute International. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
  2. "Finding Truth in Child Abuse". Los Angeles Times. 1986-03-05. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
  3. Mydans, S (1990-01-20). "Child Abuse: Some Prosecutions Win". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Snedeker MR; Nathan D (1995). Satan's silence: ritual abuse and the making of a modern American witch hunt. New York: Basic Books. pp. 127. ISBN 0-465-07180-5.
  5. Schreiber, N; Bellah L; Martinez Y; McLaurin K; Stok R; Garven S & Wood J (2006). "Suggestive interviewing in the McMartin Preschool and Kelly Michaels daycare abuse cases: A case study". Social Influence (Psychology Press) 1 (1): 16–46. doi:10.1080/15534510500361739.
  6. Garven, S; Wood JM, Malpass RS, Shaw JS (1998). "More than suggestion: the effect of interviewing techniques from the McMartin Preschool case". Journal of Applied Psychology 83 (3): 347–59. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.83.3.347. PMID 9648524.
  7. Reinhold, R (1990-01-24). "The Longest Trial - A Post-Mortem. Collapse of Child-Abuse Case: So Much Agony for So Little.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.

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