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Letter: Community’s efforts paid off on children’s psych center

Community’s efforts paid off on children’s psych center

A community-wide effort to convince Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Office of Mental Health to keep the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center in West Seneca has finally paid off. Years of hard work on the part of numerous individuals, groups and organizations was rewarded when the governor announced recently that the state was scrapping plans to move operations to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

While the timing of the announcement took many by surprise, the governor’s decision makes perfect sense. As advocates for WNYCPC have been arguing all along, the facility rates among the best in the country in treating children suffering from mental trauma.

As many of you know, the fight to save WNYCPC involved people throughout the community who deserve credit.

I was proud to work with former Assemblyman Mickey Kearns on this issue. After securing several extensions to keep the West Seneca site open, we introduced legislation to block the move to Buffalo permanently. Despite unanimous approval by the Senate and Assembly, the governor vetoed the bill and relocation plans moved forward.

However, that setback did not deter the thousands of people who simply would not give up on the West Seneca location. Residents signed petitions, wrote letters and attended rallies. The group Save Our WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center shared its passion for the West Seneca facility, its dedicated staff and the services it provides.

Members of the Public Employees Federation (PEF) and the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) were also instrumental in gathering support for the existing center.

Throughout this long process, our community spoke with one voice. In the end, Albany heard it. This is truly a victory for all of Western New York.

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, 59th District

Elma

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