Weekly Feature



2017-09-14 / Editorial

Where are you, Gov. Cuomo? Save children in West Seneca

MICKEY KEARNS
State Assembly

The effort to save the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center continues to stay strong. As of this writing, my office has received more than 12,000 signatures of support to keep the children’s center in West Seneca. We now wait on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make a commitment to sign the bill sponsored by Sen. Patrick Gallivan and me, which passed unanimously in the Assembly and Senate, to keep the facility open.

Below is a letter I wrote to Cuomo, asking for his commitment to keep the children’s facility in West Seneca.

“Dear Gov. Cuomo,

“Tomorrow marks 50 days since we have started our Save the Children petition campaign to keep the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center open in West Seneca. Since then, we have amassed more than 10,000 signatures from counties throughout New York State. Gov. Cuomo, your plan to move children to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center campus proves you’re out of touch with the needs of Western New York’s most vulnerable.

“As your father said, ‘There is despair in the faces that you don’t see, in the places that you never visit.’

“Mr. Governor, the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center is a place that you have not visited. You have not seen the despair for the many children who will be affected by your plan to merge the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

“You may choose not to listen to the children, but you can’t ignore the voices of more than 10,000 New Yorkers. “Enclosed with this letter are comments from the community, voicing their concerns on your intent to close the center in West Seneca.

“A facility in the middle of Buffalo, one comingled with children and adults, barricaded by 12-foot walls, will inhibit our children’s ability to heal and grow. Removing them from their open and idyllic West Seneca campus condemns them to a restrictive concrete jungle. This move would eradicate their hope that there is more to life than having a mental illness.

“These concerns have reached well beyond the parents of the children directly affected by this center; the voices of more than 10,000 individuals in our community have spoken loudly in support of protecting our children and saving the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center. “With support from more than 90 elected officials at the local level, through 24 certified resolutions, moral authority through various faith-based organizations, and a unanimous vote in the New York State Assembly and Senate, it begs the question, where are you, Gov. Cuomo?

“Now more than ever, in the tradition of New York governors from Nelson Rockefeller to Mario Cuomo, strong leadership on children’s issues is essential.

“On behalf of more than 10,000 New Yorkers, Gov. Cuomo, I ask, will you commit to keeping the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center open in West Seneca?”

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