Butters Homes was created by the Butters Foundation in 1986 to manage the network of homes that the Foundation had purchased or built since its inception in 1976. The Butters Foundation was originally created to purchase homes for the residents of the Butters Centre who were housed in less-then-adequate quarters on the 35-acre campus in Austin, near Lake Memphremagog. This operation was so successful that the board of directors started to feel overwhelmed by the dual responsibility of properly managing a growing number of properties in the Eastern Townships and soliciting potential donors for future projects of that nature. The organizations then split into 2 with directors moving to where they felt more comfortable.
Since 1986 Butters Homes has gone from a maximum of 32 properties to a current number of 17, owing to a reduced need on the part of the Centre for housing. Two of these properties were not even requested by the Centre (CISSSMO). These are a 100-hectare farm in Rougemont along Route 112 and a 15-acre camp property in Frelighsburg, near the US border (see below), both which provide much-needed respite care to families in need. Butters Homes, Inc also has access to grants from the Société de habitation du Quebec (SHQ) and presently has seven properties that receive annual grants of various amounts from the Quebec Government.
Until recently, our public partner had dropped any request for new properties due to budgetary considerations, even in the face of growing wait lists for specialized residential services. However, budgetary restraints have been lifted and the Centre will now need additional adapted homes for clients with special needs. At the same time, the public establishment is in the process of transferring all of its services & installations in the MRCs of Haute-Yamaska & Brome-Missisquoi, (read Granby, Cowansville and environs) to the region of Estrie, adjacent to the east. Since Butters Homes & the Butters Foundation originated from Brome-Missisquoi and points east of Cowansville, this administrative change will challenge both organizations as it adapts to a new reality. Will the Homes have to abandon properties in its traditional territory or adapt to variable arrangements with 2 administrative regions, (i.e. Estrie & Montérégie). Where will it operate in the future? Who will it partner with? What role will the foundation play in all of this? Many questions. Fewer answers at the moment.
The Rougemont Farm
In 2010 the company purchased a working farm in the township of Rougemont on Rt. 112, just west of Granby. This 100 hectare property has an animal barn, a sugar shack, and a corral for medium to large animals. These facilities provide challenging work for clients who go there for regular weekend and weekly respite visits.
Maison Lily Butters
The progressive development of the public rehabilitative system in Quebec for persons with an intellectual disability since the mid 1970s has witnessed the successful return to the community of practically everybody with an intellectual disability EXCEPT those persons with severe and complex behavioral problems. These people represent a small minority of the client population of the system but they are also a costly and ill-served segment of the population, oftentimes pushed from one institution to the next without any appreciable success in treatment, and exacting a huge toll on the lives of family members. These people often languish in general and psychiatric hospitals across the Province and across the country, taking up expensive beds and frustrating ill-equipped but well-meaning professionals. These severely disabled people represent a significant challenge for the field of intellectual disability in Quebec and the rest of the country. Once these people are properly treated and rehabilitated, all intellectually disabled people will have had the chance to live in the community and profit from a decent quality of life.
In order, however, to return people with severe behavioral problems to the community, the public social service system must “retool” itself by adapting its physical infrastructure to meet the clinical needs of this challenging client group and to carry out practical research projects that will advance the science of rehabilitating people with complex behavioral problems. Physical space designed to facilitate and enhance the provision of specialized services will allow highly qualified professionals the opportunity to work in an efficient and effective manner. The goal of this facility will be to properly diagnose, with the complete range of diagnostic tools, the specific problems of each client and to prescribe appropriate clinical programs to be eventually administered in less restricted community environments. Stays in such a clinical facility would be limited to periods of 120 days, the length of time required to stabilize a “disorganized” client, effectively diagnose his problems, and build a tailor-made individualized program to be implemented in an appropriate living environment in the community.
Such a facility would be a first in Canada wherein mental health and social rehab professionals worked together to solve a lingering social problem, and would be owned by Butters Homes, Inc., the property management arm of the Butters Foundation. It would, in turn, be leased back to the public establishment on a long-term basis. Ownership of the building would remain outside the public domain in perpetuity.
The need is to build and to create an equivalent in the field of mental retardation to the ultra-specialized acute-care hospital in the field of general curative medicine, an institution of world-class stature, linked to universities for the purpose of research, capable of working in French or in English and open to treat anybody from the Province of Quebec. This kind of environment would make all the difference in the world to a client who has never been properly diagnosed and has, consequently, never received the clinical treatment he or she needed to overcome a severe behavioral problem.
After a successful campaign, the service opened in December of 2008. Clients needing intensive treatment entered the facility one at a time. The research project came on line at the same time. See Research Protocol for more information on the research project. Click here.Treatments have been monitored as per the research protocol since day one. Clients have completed their assessment and program planning and have returned to less segregated living environments,
Maison Lily Butters
This state-of-the-art eight bed diagnostic and crisis behavioural intervention facility has seen a successful turnover of clients since opening its doors in December of 2008. Remember that this facility was designed as a temporary evaluation and treatment centre for adolescents and young adults with destabilizing emotional and behavioural problems. These problems cause immense challenges for families, themselves and their surroundings. Since opening, over 50 clients have left the facility and returned to community housing, causing relief to families, savings to the public system and improved quality of life for the clients themselves. During this period, the research component has been able to document new best practices directly related to the facility and is putting together an interim report that will be available for distribution shortly. The plan is to multiply the results of our investments by sharing our experiences with colleagues in other parts of the country.
In 2013, the owner of the 14.9-acre camp site since 1971, the Garagona Association, transferred property ownership to Butters Homes under the condition that its partner, the Butters Foundation, solicit funds for the refurbishment of its building infrastructure that had significantly deteriorated over the last 4 decades. Consequently, the foundation launched a capital campaign that produced grants of $2.5 million for a new administrative building and $326,000 for a new Arts Building and Water Spray area. These projects were completed by the beginning of the 2019 summer camp sessions, (see photos of new Arts Building & the water spray project).
These much-needed infrastructure changes now allow the camp to receive campers twelve months a year and have a limited number of bedrooms for campers with behavioral or emotional issues. The availability of this limited number of rooms allows parents, who have not had the possibility of respite due to exclusionary admission criteria, the opportunity to get respite at critical times of the year. Local organizations can also rent the site for weekend for activities and events that accommodate disabled children & young adults and, on occasion, their siblings.
The Butters Foundation also granted the camp in 2017 an amount of $40,000 over 3 years to subsidize weekend or weeklong visits of school-age adolescents. This grant allowed families who had never had access to the camp to experience the camp and its activities and build a relationship for future visits. Many campers have returned to enjoy additional experiences.
This partnership of the camp, the foundation and Butters Homes has allowed the camp to rejuvenate its facilities, upgrade its programs & activities and offer around-the-clock and around-the-calendar experiences for campers and respite for their families.
The Quebec Government has taken notice of these important changes and has announced that the camp will get increased funding in future years to expand its important services to families in need.