JC Butler Award 2020

JC Butler Award 2020 – recognising our amazing kith and kin carers

This award acknowledges the role of our kinship carers in the spirit of JC Butler, a founding father of OzChild.

JC was very concerned for the changing social mores in Victoria in the 1920’s and could see the breakdown of families, not just poverty, was creating a new cohort of children in need.

Understanding the power of family, he lobbied hard to support the establishment of the widow’s pension so mothers could afford to keep children in the home.

The spirt of JC Butler lives on through the work of our organisation and through the wonderful work of our kinship carers. This award recognises a kinship carer who makes sure through their personal effort that kith and kin can be cared for by those closest to them.

What are the qualities of JC Butler that we want to see recognised in this award?

JC Butler’s qualities were many – but some key attributes were:

  • Strong sense of service to others
  • Service to those who are disadvantaged and in need
  • Advocate and leader for women and children with strong family and social values
  • Personal qualities of commitment, dependability, creativity and compassion
  • Humble, as many close to him were unaware of the extent of his support for the disadvantaged

The recipient of the 2020 JC Butler Award is Teresa Harding.

Teresa and her husband Graham have taken on the care of two of Graham’s 3rd cousin’s. Both young people have a significant trauma history.

One of the boys came to live with them seven years ago and in 2018 was granted a permanent care order. His brother came to live with the family in late 2018.

In addition to being a kinship carer, Teresa is also a disability support worker, manager of an importing distribution centre and a bookkeeper.

Despite a busy professional life Teresa attends all required meetings for the boys and is very proactive regarding their care.

Family is extremely important to Teresa, which is why she is committed to maintaining the boy’s connection to their family.

With another brother currently in foster care Teresa goes above and beyond to ensure the three siblings remain in contact, ensuring the boys get together at least once a month.

Teresa is a staunch advocate for the boys, especially when it comes to their needs at school, but is humble when it comes to considering herself a leader.

“Teresa would never see herself as a leader but will quietly put herself out to ensure others are supported and encouraged. Teresa’s friends describe her as a natural leader who provides exceptional direction to others, without realising,” says OzChild case manager Alison Sutherland.

Compassionate, kind and selfless, Teresa has invested an enormous amount of time, and effort into helping the siblings deal with the effects of trauma, building a very special bond with them.

“Teresa has developed such a beautiful bond with Timmy* they play this game where she will chase him around the house for a hug and he will pretend to run away, it’s really lovely,” says Alison.

Consistently demonstrating her strong values of respect, honesty, responsibility and kindness, Teresa is a deserving recipient of the JC Butler Award.

Thank you so much for the love and care you provide the two boys in your life and CONGRATULATIONS Teresa!

* names changed

OzChild’s JC Butler Award 2020
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