Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) and Assemblyman Mickey Kearns (D, West Seneca) announce legislation, (S4630,A6505) which would require the New York State Office of Mental Health to operate the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca as a separate entity, has been sent to Governor Cuomo for consideration. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Gallivan and Assemblyman Kearns, would prevent the state from moving ahead with plans to merge the facility with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The governor has ten days to decide if he will sign the bill into law.
“Closing the Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca and merging it with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center is simply not in the best interest of the children and adolescent patients who are treated there,” Gallivan said. “The West Seneca facility is rated among the best in the nation and patients, families and caregivers attribute much of the center’s success to its unique and stand-alone location. I implore Governor Cuomo to do what is best for the children who need these vital services and sign this legislation.”
“I want to thank the patients, family members and advocates for their steadfast, hard work to keep the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center open in West Seneca,” said Kearns. “Additionally, I want to thank the more than 16,000 residents from across New York State who signed our petition to keep the children’s facility separate from the adult facility. Finally, thank you to Speaker Heastie and my colleagues in the Assembly for their understanding and support on this issue. Closing this facility would be a colossal mistake. This has been a long, hard fight to keep the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center open where it is and I am hopeful Governor Cuomo will sign this bill and save the children.”
The legislation, which passed unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly, would require WNYCPC to be operated as a separate and distinct entity both organizationally and physically.
Senator Gallivan and Assembly Kearns have collected over 16,000 signatures from residents who support keeping the center at its current location. The petitions will be delivered to the governor’s office along with the legislation.
Over the past several years, former patients, family members of patients, workers, community activists and academics have pushed to keep the WNYCPC open. They argue the tranquil surrounding provided at the West Seneca campus is important for the children who are undergoing significant mental trauma and the families desperately trying to protect these children from danger.