Ms Margaret Yarr has been appointed by the Representative Church Body as Child Protection Officer for the Church of Ireland with particular responsibility for Northern Ireland.
Margaret commenced her post at the beginning of March and is based in the offices of the Board of Education NI in Church of Ireland House, Belfast. Revd Ian Ellis, Secretary of the Board of Education, welcomed Margaret to her new role.
He said: “The creation of this post has come at a time of constant development of child protection legislation and guidance in the continual raising of standards of child protection across the voluntary sector.
“The appointment also makes a vital statement to parishes and parents in particular, that the Church of Ireland places the welfare of children as a top priority, and on an on-going basis seeks to ensure that its Safeguarding Trust policy is always well resourced and supported by personnel with a high degree of expertise and experience.”
Rev Ellis added: “We welcome Margaret to her new role within the Board and look forward to benefiting from the experience she brings from the statutory sector. Margaret is a professionally qualified social worker with wide experience in the area of child protection and family support. She is also a qualified child protection trainer, and her initial focus will be to develop training with parish panels.
“As Child Protection Officer her role will be to advise and support parishes, dioceses and central church bodies, on the implementation and development of the Church of Ireland’s child protection policy “Safeguarding Trust”. An important task is to progress the development of the 3rd edition (NI) of Safeguarding Trust keeping it in line with a recent revision to child protection guidelines for the voluntary sector.”
The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev Alan Harper, said: “I offer my personal good wishes to Margaret as she takes up her duties on our behalf in this vital area of church life.
“I welcome this further important stage in the development of the Church of Ireland’s commitment to care for all children sharing in its ministry. I note that the re-advertising of a similar post for the Republic will take place in the near future and I very much hope that a similarly suitable appointment may soon be possible.”