Future Investments

The Butters Foundation was created in 1976 to serve the interests of families with intellectually disabled or autistic children in the Eastern Townships. Mrs. Butters had originally served parents by taking their disabled child when they had no where else to turn.  In its first mandate, the foundation bought community-based housing for the residents of the Butters Centre. When the institution closed in 1991 after integrating over 250 ex-institutional residents, the foundation revised its mandate to help families keep their disabled child at home and in their community for as long as possible.  Over time, the members of the Butters Foundation realized that respite was the key to keeping disabled children with their parents and siblings. Respite has thus been a key mandate of the foundation since the end of the 20th century.

Early in the 21st century, it was brought to the attention of the directors of the foundation that a relatively minor but terribly ill-served segment of the intellectually disabled population required a new approach to service to relieve frustrated parents struggling to raise a disabled child with severe behavioral problems. Up to that time, the public rehab system had failed to make any significant breakthrough in serving this clientele. These unfortunate people were pushed from one institution or agency to another without any tangible results in reducing or eliminating their negative & oftentimes destructive behavior. The costs to the public health system of serving these people also started to balloon, as institutions were closing & parents were expected to keep their child at home.

Capturing the interest of our President, Dr. William Barakett, C.M., who had an abiding interest in addictions and emotional afflictions, he reached out to university specialists in this area and decided to invest important sums in applied research projects which would focus on multi-disciplinary teams that would gain the attention of clients and then treat them for their behavioral issues. The first project was the construction of Maison Lily Butters in St-Hyacinthe which provided a state-of-the-art facility for this kind of therapy. Since 2008, over 50 children, adolescents and young adults have benefitted from this service and now find themselves living in a community format and some of them, even at home. Since then, the foundation has sponsored a project for identifying and treating pre-school children with ‘’budding” behavioral issues. The results of this project have generated new therapies to treat these young people before their negative behavior becomes socially disruptive.

The foundation decided to invest heavily in the renewal of the Chair in Intellectual Disability & Behavioral Problems at UQAM in Montreal. Under the direction of Dr. Diane Morin, C.M., this chair has promoted the development of services for disabled people with severe behavioral issues for the last 10 years. It is our hope that we will be able to work with Dr. Morin and her team in the years to come to explore new and innovative ways to treat these disabled & autistic people, who constitute over 60% of the disabled population. Successful therapy will significantly reduce stress at home and improve quality of life for all members of the family.

In the summer of 2020, the Executive of the foundation met with the Board of their partner organization, Butters Homes, in order to chart a future course for the foundation in light of the passing of our long-serving president, Dr. William Barakett. After some discussion, it was decided to recommend to the membership of the foundation, at its next AGM, that the foundation revert to its former mandate of supporting intellectually disabled and autistic people and their families. This mandate, as in the past, could lead to the support of respite for families, specialized equipment for children living at home, long-term & specialized housing for disabled people attached to the regional public rehab establishment, and other innovative projects. Specific ideas for solicitation would be brought forth once the membership of the foundation approved the revised mandate and consultation ensued with its partners. This would occur in late 2021 & 2022.