Office of Mental Health plans to move West Seneca Children’s Psychiatric Center to Buffalo

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WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — For years the Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca has only been funded on a short term basis.

Parents and officials have been fighting for long term funding to keep the center in West Seneca, but it appears they may have just lost that fight.

The New York State Office of Mental Health announced it plans to move forward with relocating the Children’s Psychiatric Center from West Seneca to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

In a statement the agency said it issued a construction bid to build a new children’s inpatient unit that will be separate from the adult services on the site of the Buffalo center.

The agency says the move will result in millions of dollars worth of savings. It also says it will employ the same staff and maintain the same number of beds.

Assemblyman Mickey Kearns says the move will put children in danger.

“Based on the registry there are dangerous people in this facility, sex offenders level 3. Why would we want to put our most vulnerable with these scum bags, why would we do that? I am very upset about this, I am calling on the Governor and the Commissioner to change their minds and re-send their decision,” said Kearns.

Kearns says the West Seneca facility has the lowest re-institutional rate than any other facility in the state.

The Office of Mental Health says it expects the new unit for children to open at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center in about two years.

Below is a statement from the State Office of Mental Health regarding concerns about relocating the Children’s Psychiatric Center to Buffalo:

There will be absolutely no contact between child and adult patients at Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The building will feature secure physical barriers between adults and children and will offer entirely separate entrances, living quarters, treatment spaces and recreation areas for each population.

All adult patients who are registered sex offenders will be transferred off of the Buffalo campus prior to any relocation of child patients, a fact which has been communicated to local elected officials on multiple occasions.

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