The New York State Senate has unanimously passed a bill making the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center a stand-alone facility.
Elma Republican Patrick Gallivan, who sponsored the bill, said the measure would amend the state’s mental hygiene law "to prohibit the collocation of WNYCPC and would require it to be operated as a separate and distinct entity both organizationally and physically."
The West Seneca facility has been at the center of a dispute with the state, which wants to close it and move its young residents to the adult Psychiatric Center on Forest Avenue in Buffalo.
Those opposing the move and say it would be the only New York State-operated psychiatric center where children and adults reside and are treated in the same building. They also say the degree of oversight necessary to protect those children from the adult population at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center would be additionally traumatizing to already fragile young people.
“I firmly believe that closing the Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca and merging it with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center will jeopardize the care and safety of children and adolescent patients,” Gallivan said. “Western New York CPC is rated among the best in the nation in the treatment of children and teens in need of behavioral health services. Patients, families and caregivers attribute part of the center’s success to its unique location, separate from other facilities. I have yet to hear a clinical reason for moving these children to an adult facility in an urban setting. It isn’t fair to the children who need our care and support.”