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Over its 125-year history, Five Acres has expanded its services to meet the changing needs of children and families. Programs are family centered and focused on the unique needs of the child and his or her family.  Active involvement of families and the community is encouraged. When natural families are absent, emphasis is placed on locating permanent alternative families. Connections enhance the child's sense of well being and increase the child's potential for success.

Incorporated on March 12, 1888 as an orphanage for abandoned children, the Boys' and Girls' Aid Society of Los Angeles County was first located at 2150 Glowner Street, Los Angeles. In 1903, the orphanage moved to Mission Street and Orange Grove Avenue in South Pasadena where land for a larger facility had been generously donated. The need for additional space and the board's desire to move the children out of the city led to relocation to a five-acre site in rural Altadena where The Boys' and Girls' Aid Society of Los Angeles County eventually became known as Five Acres. Noted architect Myron Hunt designed the facility’s structures, and the cornerstone for the campus was laid in 1925. Today this site comprises the residential treatment center, therapeutic school and administrative offices.