Protesters fight to keep psych center

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The fight is on to save a West Seneca center that gives children with mental health problems the help and support they need. The Children’s Psychiatric Center of Western New York could fall victim to a cost cutting measure by the state.

Parents and local leaders banded together Friday to plead with Governor Andrew Cuomo to keep the center open. The facility has operated in West Seneca since the 1970s and is the only child psychiatric center in this area.

The state says consolidating 24 inpatient hospitals statewide into 15 regional centers would save $20 million. If the center closes, no one would lose their job, but parents say there is a larger issue. Some children may have to receive treatment hours away from their families.

The Office of Mental Health (OMH) released the following statement to clear up some misunderstanding about the consolidation:

At no time will there be integration of adult and children’s inpatient treatment at the Western Lakes Child and Adult Regional Center of Excellence. Children will be served and housed in secure units, completely separate from the secure adult wards. Western Lakes Regional Center of Excellence will also have a separate entrance for children and their visiting family members. As with OMH’s other facilities offering both adult and children’s units, there will be absolutely no contact between these populations.

Excellent service is not defined by infrastructure nor the size of a psychiatric center campus, but by the dedication and expertise of OMH’s skilled clinicians and staff. Much of the OMH clinical workforce at Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center will continue to provide this high level of care at the Western Lakes Child and Adult Regional Center of Excellence in Buffalo. The reorganization of inpatient services will allow OMH to increase the number of individuals receiving mental health services throughout the region and offer new and expanded ambulatory services.

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