Susan Barton AM is a revolutionary Australian leader in the area of babies, children, and youth homelessness. The founder and director of the Lighthouse Foundation for homeless young people began caring for vulnerable young people in her own home more than 40 years ago following a life-changing experience as a volunteer in a Sri Lankan orphanage. This was the catalyst that started her on the Lighthouse journey.
Susan is well-known and highly awarded for her intelligent, compassionate and replicable approach towards restoring disadvantaged babies, children and youth into their rightful place in society.
An insightful author and driver of change in the area of youth homelessness, Susan co-authored Build your Teenager’s Self Esteem (2000) and Therapeutic Residential Care for Children: An Attachment and Trauma-Informed Model for Practice (2011).
Susan’s book features a foreword by former Human Rights Commissioner, Prof Brian Burdekin, urging Australian governmental bodies, academics, companies and societal leaders to pay attention to the ground-breaking work of the Lighthouse Foundation. The book reveals an incredible amount of research and hands-on experience collated over the past 30 years.
Susan leads a devoted team of experts in babies, children and youth care and rehabilitation, who work daily with babies, children and young people forced to leave their family home because of physical, emotional or mental abuse, drugs or alcohol. Susan’s team recognises that these young traumatised babies, children and youth are among the most vulnerable in our society.
Susan’s message is clear: a traumatised child does not need a ‘house’ as much as they need a ‘home’ – a place of belonging where they feel cared for and honoured physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And her motto is equally clear: Caring for children is everyone’s business.
Susan believes that Homelessness affects all of us in society and, together, we can work to alleviate and ultimately end it. The longer we allow our young people to fall through the cracks, the longer we as a community is the poorer for it. The health of any society should be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable amongst us. Susan encourages all of us to work together to end babies, children and youth homelessness.
Lighthouse Foundation is doing a big job – but we can’t do it alone. We need your support. No matter who you are or where you are from, together, we can end children and youth homelessness in Australia.
Susan’s mission is to change the way Australia looks at the issue and consequences of babies, children and youth homelessness moving towards a more therapeutic approach on their journey to recovery. She is passionate about protecting Australia’s number one resource – our children and our youth.