Parents advocate for long term funding of West Seneca Children’s Psychiatric Center

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca is in danger of closing in the future. Now parents are speaking out as to why the center is so important to their children.

The Children’s Psychiatric Center has been a part of West Seneca for decades. But the funding formula only supports the facility on a short term basis. Which means with every passing year there’s a chance it could eventually be gone for good.

“When he finally got into the Children’s Psychiatric Center, and we drove onto that property for the first time we were filled with such hope we were like wow this place is so different from any other facility,” said Allison Scanlon, parent advocate.

Scanlon says her son spent a total of 3 and a half years at the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca. It was a game changer for her family.

“I know that my family would’ve totally fallen apart if it was not for the children’s psychiatric center,” said Scanlon.

But the facility is only funded on a year to year basis. It’s already funded for 2016 to 2017, but beyond that its future is uncertain. If the facility closes, children would be housed with adults at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center instead. Concerned parents say kids and adults shouldn’t be mixed.

“If my son had to of gone to a center when he was seven like the Buffalo Psych Center I probably would’ve chose to not go there,” said Chauntel Bartosik, parent advocate.

The State Office of Mental Health says all of the services currently offered at the West Seneca location would also be offered at the new children’s unit of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center upon relocation. Parents say it still wouldn’t be the same

“The concern is that children will be harmed. The grounds are totally differeet they are going to build these huge walls around their play area so you’re feeling very very confined as opposed to being out in West Seneca,” said Scanlon.

According to Assemblyman Mickey Kearns, the Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca has the lowest rate of returning patients in the state, and is one of the best rated facilities in the country.

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