WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A measure to keep the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca has been vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The state has been making plans to merge the facility with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, which houses adults. The battle to keep the facility in West Seneca played out for several years.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers in both the Assembly and State Senate unanimously passed a measure to keep the center open.
The governor vetoed the measure to keep it in West Seneca Wednesday night.
Gov. Cuomo says all children currently at the West Seneca facility will receive services there until they are discharged.
“Once the New WNYCPC is complete — nearly two years from now — it will accept new admissions,” Cuomo wrote.
Many families say merging the facilities could put children at risk.
Last month, Assemblyman Mickey Kearns unveiled a billboard urging Gov. Cuomo to keep the Children’s Psychiatric Center open.
Here is Kearns’ response to the veto:
“I am utterly disappointed by Governor Cuomo’s decision to veto legislation that would have kept the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center open in West Seneca. Ignoring the voices of all of his colleagues in the legislature, who voted unanimously in favor of this bill, ignoring the more than 16,000 residents who signed a petition asking the Governor to keep the Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca, ignoring the numerous medical and mental health experts who showed evidence as to why this facility needed to remain open, and most importantly ignoring the pleas from the patients and their families to keep the center open, is a completely unacceptable use of governance and poor excuse for leadership. Governor Cuomo owes an explanation to all of these parties. ‘Bigger and better’ is not a justifiable reason to close a facility that has saved the lives of vulnerable children across New York State. We don’t need hindsight to see that moving this facility, to the same campus as adult psychiatric patients, downtown in a busy urban environment, will be a colossal mistake and detrimental to the health and wellbeing of children seeking these valuable services.”