Legislators Seeks Public Support to Keep WNY Childrens Psychiatric Center in West Seneca

Patrick M. Gallivan

August 02, 2017

Senator Gallivan discusses the importance of WNYCPC with reporters.
Residents Urged to Contact Governor Cuomo

Senator Patrick Gallivan and Assemblyman Mickey Kearns are urging residents who believe the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center should continue to operate as a standalone facility in West Seneca to contact Governor Cuomo and ask him to sign legislation passed by the Senate and Assembly in June.  The bill would block the merging of the WNYCPC with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center by requiring the facility be operated as a separate and distinct entity both organizationally and physically. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Gallivan and Assemblyman Kearns, passed both the Senate and the Assembly unanimously and will be sent to the governor for consideration.

“Before the bill gets to the governor’s desk, we want to make sure that he hears from residents who care about the treatment of vulnerable children and adolescents,” Gallivan said.  “We can send a loud and clear message to the governor that the people of Western New York want him to do what is best for children and families.  Keep the Children’s Psychiatric Center right where it is so that it can continue to provide the best possible treatment in a safe and tranquil environment.”

Senator Gallivan is urging residents to sign an online petition calling on the governor to sign the bill to keep the West Seneca center open.  The petition is available at www.savewnycpc.com.  Residents are also encouraged to call or write the governor.

At the end of June, Assemblyman Kearns mailed surveys throughout his entire district.  About 6,000 surveys in 1 month have been returned to the office. The returned surveys are averaging 1500 per week. The survey, sent out to the entire 142nd Assembly District June 30th 2017, asks residents ‘Do you want Governor Cuomo to sign the bill to block the closing of the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center?’ Of the 6,000 responses, 99.99% are urging Governor Cuomo to sign legislation keeping the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center open and operating at its West Seneca facility.

“The outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming,” said Kearns. “Elected officials send out surveys and petitions to gage how the community feels about an issue. Never in my years as an elected representative have I seen such a clear and consistent response. It is apparent from the surveys and petitions, that the WNY community wants the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center to stay in West Seneca, and we’re calling on Governor Cuomo to listen to the people he represents.”  

Assemblyman Kearns and Senator Gallivan have also requested certified resolutions of support for the WNYCPC from municipalities across NYS. In one month, about 20 legislative bodies, representing 76 elected officials, have passed certified resolutions of support. Locally, West Seneca, Orchard Park and the Erie County Legislature have approved the resolution. 

“I can’t believe that the governor is threatening to shut down this facility. The WNYCPC is rated in the top 10 percent of children’s psychiatric facilities in the nation and has helped countless children throughout the decades that it’s been in operation,” said Assemblyman David DiPietro. “Gov. Cuomo would rather send these fragile children to a facility in Buffalo that treats adults. That’s not looking out for our children that is just dangerous.”

“I am pleased at the bill introduced by Assemblyman Mickey Kearns in the NYS Assembly and Senator Patrick Gallivan in the NYS Senate passed unanimously, in both Houses, and I urge the Governor to sign the legislation to save the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center,” said Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello.

Legislators have worked with patients, families, mental health experts and others over the past several years to keep the Children's Psychiatric Center in West Seneca.  The facility received a 99.9% rating by the Joint Commission on Accredited health Care Organizations and listed among the top ten percent of hospitals in the nation accredited by the Joint Commission. Furthermore, medical experts have stated that youth and adolescents need to be treated separately from adults to receive the best care possible. 

Advocates for WNYCPC believe its rural location and school-like setting is beneficial to the treatment of young patients.  They fear that moving services to an adult facility in an urban setting will jeopardize the safety and treatment of children and adolescents.