Weekly Feature

2017-07-20 / Editorial

Fight continues to save children’s center

Bee Editorial

Once again we find ourselves writing about the effort to save the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center.

This discussion has been going on for more than four years, and from the way Gov. Andrew Cuomo is responding, it will likely continue for many years to come.

Let it continue.

A drawn-out, arduous fight means that during this time, when advocates, legislators, families, mental health professionals and the community are beating their fists against the governor’s door, the children being treated at the center can remain in the facility.

The children’s center is located in a tranquil setting, surrounded by nature, adjacent to a park and in an expansive campus. All of these factors were taken into consideration more than 40 years ago when doctors came to the conclusion that children stand a better chance of healing when they are treated in a separate facility from adult patients.

This is still the belief today, and many former child patients have spoke of their haunting path to treatment and recovery prior to arriving at the children’s center.

A full two days of testimony were given at Buffalo City Hall two summers ago. During this time, harrowing stories of experiences in adult psychiatric centers were heard, along with the pleas of parents and patients desperate for a sign of hope from Commissioner Anne Marie Sullivan, who sat stoic and unflinching.

Since that time, the argument has only gotten louder, growing from an incredible number of voices joining the cry: Save the children.

How is it then, that after years of consistent unanimity across the state, the governor could possibly still be moving forward with closing the children’s center?

Our government — a government of, by and for the people — is failing those it owes the most to: children in the midst of a mental health crisis.

Cuomo has done everything in his power to turn a blind eye on the children’s center and the many efforts organized by its advocates. His actions reflect those of a spoiled child, digging in his heels to get his way regardless of what is in everyone’s best interest.

Cuomo has not set foot in the facility, met the children whose lives were saved there, or placed a handprint on the iconic wall. If the facility is to close and the children are sent to the Buffalo facility, it will be more than just paint on the governor’s hands.

Save the children.

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