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Aging Out
My Story
David Griffin
Risa Bejarano
Daniella Anderson
Keely Lopez
Thomas Hudson

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Pasadena, CA
David Griffin
David Griffin spent virtually his entire childhood in the foster care, mental health, and juvenile justice systems. David was taken from his mother when he was less than a year old. She was diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia and deemed unable to care for him. Both David and his sister, Sherilyn, were sent to the home of Bob and Pearl Galasso.

I've grown up with over 10 different families ever since I was an infant.  How am I supposed to have feelings towards having a family?  I'm aging out and I'm an adult for crying out loud.
Video of David's youth

David's video diary
David with his foster father Bob Galasso
David with group home director Tim Mayworm.

The Galassos were very keen to keep the siblings together. However, David's severe emotional problems eventually overwhelmed the family. He was out of control and was often violent with the other children and his foster mother, Pearl. At age five, the Galassos had to let David go. However, they told him he was always welcome back, and he would return to visit and stay with them at various times in the future.

DAVID: I never grew up with a mother and father. I had like 30 mothers and fathers. I was nine years old when I went to my first group home. That's when I really started getting in trouble. While I was there, I committed five crimes and I was sent to juvie four times. I've had therapists since I was three years old, which gives me like a doctor's degree in therapy. They tried to diagnose me with Tourettes, bipolar, manic depressive. They tried to say I had ADD, ADHD, everything.

David turned 18 when he was in his 20th foster care placement, a group home called Journey House. Although most teens emancipate from the foster care system at age 18, David was required to remain at Journey House for six more months. He had recently been incarcerated for burglary and, as a condition of his release, had to stay in foster care until he completed high school. However, Tim Mayworm, the group home's director, grew fed up with David's behavior and decided he had to go. "I just decided that David stopped growing," says Mayworm. "His capacity to learn was over. He just couldn't listen to anybody, he just couldn't talk anymore. Nothing we were doing was working. So, I just said 'You're going to have to leave here.'" David left the home and he began using drugs and committing petty crime.

Director Tim Mayworm asked David to leave the group home.

DAVID: Tim wanted me to get my high school diploma. His cause was righteous you know, but I ditched every day at school all day long. I would just go get high. I'm a true addict.

They kicked me out. So I grabbed my stuff and at the time I was despairing. Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? I'm going to be a bum on the streets. I was staying at this dude's house. He lived in the garage and we did a lot of drugs for about two and a half weeks, to the point where I didn't go to sleep for like four days straight once. During that four days I had one bowl of Captain Crunch, that was it.

One part of me was totally happy and exhilarated because I was free. Another part of me was full of despair because I was broke and homeless. I burglarized some dude's house. I came up on like $500. Then we just spent it all on drugs and Burger King.

When he could no longer find a place to sleep, David went to the home of the Galassos. He tried to convince Bob and Pearl to let him stay with them. Instead, they convinced him to turn himself into the juvenile authorities. Because he had gone AWOL from the system, there was a warrant for David's arrest.

DAVID: I've known these foster parents since I was a little kid, so they are like a second family. I tried to convince them to actually let me live with them again, but they ended up convincing me to turn myself in. They said, "You know, just do it right." I walked in the station and I said, "I am David Griffin. There's a warrant for my arrest and I'm turning myself in." It was the hardest thing to do and I totally regret it. I wish I didn't do it.

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