3 Feb 2005

But the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People also told the event at Lisburn’s Island Mill Complex that society had a role to support both child and parent.

Mr Williams told the Parenting Forum audience that his role as Commissioner was often working with parents and children together on individual cases.

“In no way am I a Commissioner for setting children against parents and parents against children,” he said. “In many cases it is parents coming to me about issues where they want the help of my office to defend the rights of their children.”

Mr Williams also said that the needs of children and parents were never straightforward. However, he said that despite obstacles society had to respond when parents and children needed support, and remind parents where help could be found.

“There is hope,” said Mr Williams. “Friends, family, churches, voluntary groups and many professionals are here to help parents, if we as parents are open to receive that help.”

Concluding his remarks Mr Williams said the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People’s (NICCY) office had been created to provide support.

“Society gets ever more complex – there are so many influences on children,” said the Commissioner. “NICCY’s role is to act as an advocate for children and young people – working with their parents to make sure that the journey to independence is as smooth as possible, and most of all listening to children and parents to ensure we provide relevant and timely support.”

Notes for Editors

For further information on the role of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People visit www.niccy.org.