Schrader-Farry appointed Director of Safe Environment for Diocese of Fort Worth

by Susan Moses

North Texas Catholic

March 31, 2020

Sandra Schrader-FarrySandra Schrader-Farry
Sandra Schrader-Farry (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

FORT WORTH — Sandra Schrader-Farry didn’t want to modify her resume to accommodate a potential employer.

In addition to the law degree and work experience in family and circuit courts, her resume lists six positions or activities in her parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Keller.

Schrader-Farry has found a role that unites her education, legal experience, and service to the Church. Effective February 20, she was named Director of Safe Environment for the Diocese of Fort Worth.

She explained, “To apply for a job in the public sector, you would remove being a catechist. You would remove teaching Safe Environment if you wanted to be more marketable. I don’t want to do that, because that’s who I am. It’s important to me.

“The ability to share my faith and practice my faith openly, and not to have to compartmentalize it and pigeonhole it, is a blessing,” she continued.

An attorney with 18 years’ experience in children’s advocacy, Schrader-Farry oversees the diocesan Safe Environment Program, which includes the curriculum, training, and screening of all clergy, employees, and volunteers who minister and work in the diocese.

With training for preschoolers through adults, the Safe Environment program provides instruction in self-protection and in the protection of children and vulnerable adults. It includes educating all volunteers about the dynamics of abuse and abuse prevention strategies; evaluating the backgrounds of all employees and volunteers; and reviewing and signing the Code of Conduct and Standards of Behavior.

In 2018 Schrader-Farry began serving as a Safe Environment facilitator and educator at her parish. She estimates she has facilitated more than 30 Safe Environment sessions for the parish and its adjoining school.

She recalled, “It’s an important but difficult topic. I was lit on fire by doing those facilitations because I saw the impact the material and the training we were providing was having on our parishioners and our teachers and volunteers at school.”

Schrader-Farry was encouraged that even people who participated in previous iterations of Safe Environment training gained a deeper understanding from the new program implemented in September 2018. She described Protecting God’s Children® as “a great platform; it’s very well put together and very thoughtful.”

Schrader-Farry holds a law degree from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, and she earned a bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

She was an attorney for the Jackson County Family Court in Kansas City, Missouri, working with abuse and neglect cases. She also served as chief legal counsel for the juvenile department of the 37th Judicial Circuit of Missouri, responsible for legal proceedings involving abuse, neglect, and delinquency.

She holds a certification in mediation and is a trained guardian ad litem. As a guardian ad litem, she acted as a representative for the best interest of minor children in adoption and child custody legal proceedings.

Schrader-Farry’s experience adjudicating cases in family and juvenile courts provided experience ranging from delinquency to abuse and termination of parental rights. She said, “Hopefully, having a wide array of experiences gives me an opportunity to understand what come through our doors, and how best to serve the faithful of our diocese, and how best to avoid those really horrific situations.”

Working in the courts gives Schrader-Farry a firsthand perspective on the value of being proactive in the prevention of abuse. She said, “That’s the epitome of what we do, to protect kids, and adults — all of the faithful of our diocese. To make sure we’re doing what we can to ensure safety. That everything is done to create a safe environment.”

Like the previous Director of Safe Environment, the late Richard Mathews, Schrader-Farry hopes the Safe Environment program will reach beyond the pews of the Diocese of Fort Worth.

“Our program offers insight into how to keep [children and vulnerable adults] safe, and what to look for, and what to do if you suspect that something is wrong.

“[Mathews’] vision was to share our program and the procedures we have in place with not just the faithful of our diocese but also with other people within our community. I would like to see that. The training we offer our people is helpful for anyone, in any walk of life.

“That’s the goal. To be able to share it with different agencies within our community, schools, other groups that could benefit from the training. Being educated about it is the key,” she said.

Sandra Schrader-Farry

FORT WORTH — Sandra Schrader-Farry didn’t want to modify her resume to accommodate a potential employer.

Published (until 5/24/2032)