Clara Mcbride Hale

Biography of Clara Mcbride Hale

Clara McBride Hale (April 1, 1905 – December 18, 1992), also known as Mother Hale, was an American humanitarian who founded the Hale House Center, a home for unwanted children and children who were born addicted to drugs.

Clara married shortly after high school and had two children, Nathan and Lorraine. In 1938, her husband died from cancer, and Hale struggled to support her children through the Great Depression. In an attempt to stay home with her children and be as big a part of their lives as possible, Hale opened her own home daycare. The children that she cared for found her home to be such a caring and loving environment they did not want to go home at the end of the day, most began to stay full-time only seeing their mothers on the weekends. She used her home as a day care for other struggling parents which later led her to become a foster parent.

Although Hale originally opened her house as a way of making a living, it eventually led her to find her life calling. Hale became known for the work she did and became known as a mother to those who did not have one. At the age of 65 is when Hale began to take children in who were born addicted to their mother’s drug habits during pregnancy. This started in 1969 when Clara Hale's biological daughter, Lorraine, brought a mother and child who were addicted to drugs to Hale's home. A few years later Hale purchased a larger building and in 1975 she was able to attain a license in child-care. It was officially known as Hale House. After that time, Hale devoted her life to caring for needy children. She took in children, free of charge, who were addicted to drugs and helped them through their addictive periods. She would raise the children as is they were her own and once they were healthy she would help to find families interested in adoption. She took it upon herself to make sure the families were a correct fit and even in some cases turned families down if she thought they could not provide a good enough home for the child. She eventually helped over 1,000 drug addicted babies and young children who were born addicted to drugs, children born with HIV, and children whose parents had died of AIDS.

After her death in 1992, Hale's work was continued by her daughter. Although the younger Hale left Hale House in 2001, the house continues to operate.

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