Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) sponsored legislation today to freeze New York State’s plan to close psychiatric health centers across the state, including the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in the Town of West Seneca.
Gallivan is the third senator to sponsor 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 Psychiatric Center serves very specialized patients – children. Kids with mental health problems are very different patients than adults and are best treated in a facility tailored to their specific medical needs,” Gallivan said. “Transferring the patients from the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, an adult-oriented facility in North Buffalo, will not only remove them from an environment where they and their families feel comfortable, but could jeopardize their mental health and wellbeing. This closure is not only bad policy, but bad medicine and I intend do everything in my power to keep the doors of this facility in West Seneca open.”
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.
Gallivan is also a co-signor of a letter from earlier this month that requested Governor Cuomo to re-consider the state’s plan to close of the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca.
Senator Patrick M. Gallivan represents all or parts of Erie, Wyoming, Livingston and Monroe Counties, including the Town of West Seneca in Erie County.