Award Presentation to Dick Garbutt
Friday, April 21 • 5:00 p.m. • Hallmark Resort, Newport
The award presentation will be followed by a casual reception.
Dick Garbutt has had a long and successful career in public defense in Klamath Falls. He has defended clients in all types of cases, he has served as a contract administrator for Klamath Defender Services and has been a sounding board and mentor for his fellow attorneys. Most recently, he’s dedicated his practice to representing juvenile-court-involved children.
Through these diverse experiences, he began to appreciate the significant needs of parents and children in the dependency system. He recognized that a lawyer alone wasn’t sufficient—parents and children needed advocates to serve as motivators, coaches, and relationship-builders. As a very early adopter of the principles of holistic defense, Dick initiated the Dependency Case Manager Program within KDS. He convinced his consortium to hire several case managers to serve as part of the defense team in dependency cases. DCMs have proven essential: they ensure children’s needs are met, they use motivational strategies to support parent engagement, and they work with parents and children to overcome barriers.
After the successful launch of the DCM program, Dick moved onto an even greater challenge. While representing children, he was consistently dissatisfied with the frequency and quality of visits provided by DHS, particularly to babies. He recognized that frequent contact between parents and children is a necessity. Children need this contact to develop healthy attachments and parents need this contact to learn and practice parenting skills. Determined to do something to address this unmet need, Dick developed a plan for O.U.R. (Opportunity Understanding Responsibility) House, a home-like visitation center where parents and babies could bond through frequent, often daily, visitation. Under Dick’s leadership, KDS purchased an adorable home, turned it into a safe and welcoming visitation center, hired a qualified parenting coach, and even managed the transportation for babies to and from foster homes to O.U.R. House.
O.U.R. House is now embarking on a new chapter. KDS is in the process of passing the torch to Lutheran Community Services and O.U.R. House will continue to grow as part of a new children’s relief nursery. Dick’s brainchild, a safe and home-like center for babies and parents to bond in a healthy way, will continue to serve the community for years to come.
— Amy Miller, Office of Public Defense Services
The award recognizes the challenging nature of practicing juvenile dependency and delinquency law, the legal complexity of these cases, the physical and emotional toll of representing parents, children, and youth when the state has intervened in the family, and the extraordinary effort required to capably and compassionately do this work. This award honors the vital services of juvenile law defense attorneys who have set high practice standards in Oregon’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems through effective and zealous advocacy.
If you would like to suggest a possible recipient for the Juvenile Law Advocacy Award, contact Executive Director Shaun McCrea or Juvenile Law Committee chair Sarah Peterson. Include a description of why the person is deserving. The Juvenile Law Committee decides on the award recipient(s) and the award is presented on the Friday of the April Annual Juvenile Law Conference. The award is not automatically presented every year.