Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Assemblyman Raymond Walter, Erie County Legislator Joe Lorigo and West Seneca Town Supervisor Sheila Meegan joined with advocates and parents to decry the New York State Office of Mental Health’s proposal to close the Western New York Chrildren’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca and relocate its patients to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center in North Buffalo.
“Children with mental health problems are very different patients than adults and are best treated in a facility tailored to their unique needs and challenges. Transferring child-patients from the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center to the adult-oriented Buffalo Psychiatric Center will not only remove them from an environment where they and their families feel comfortable, but could seriously jeopardize their mental health and treatment plans,” Gallivan continued. “I intend do everything in my power to keep the doors of this facility open to Western New Yorkers who need its services.”
Gallivan is also a sponsor of the "Freeze Unsafe Closures Now Act” (S.5986), which places a moratorium on closing the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca and all targeted facilities until April 1, 2015, providing lawmakers, the executive and mental health experts time to devise a plan that is more responsive to the needs and challenges of Western New York’s mentally ill.
The Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center opened in West Seneca in 1970. The center takes seriously emotionally disturbed children between the ages of 4 and 18 years old from 19 Western New York counties. Children who are admitted to the facility have lives scarred by trauma such as sexual molestation, physical abuse, bullying, death of parents, abandonment, neglect, and intense family conflicts. Despite the significant volume from these 19 counties the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center has the lowest re-institutionalization rate of any facility in New York State.