Patricia was appointed as NICMA Director in April 2017.
Patricia served as Commissioner for Children & Young People from January 2007-2015. A former MLA and district councillor, Patricia has a long track record of working for children, young people and women.
She led efforts in the Assembly to put Area Child Protection Committees on a statutory basis. Also as an MLA Patricia set up All Party Working groups on children, disabilities and poverty.
Patricia remarried in 2011 and has 5 children, 2 step children and 9 grandchildren.
Karena is a graduate of Stranmillis University where she received a BA Hons in Early Childhood Studies.
Since graduation Karena was employed in Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children for 4 years as a Hospital Play Specialist during this time completing the professional Diploma in Specialised Play.
For the past seven years Karena has been employed in the community sector in West Belfast in Blackie River Community Groups based in Beechmount in West Belfast, as Childcare Coordinator and most recently in the position of Greater Falls Family Support Hub Coordinator.
Karena is currently studying a Msc in Children’s Rights at Queens University Belfast.