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Advocates urge rejection of psych center consolidation

Chris Caya/WBFO News

A few dozen people concerned over the potential closing of the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center turned out for a public hearing in Buffalo's City Hall on Friday. The state plans to consolidate the West Seneca facility with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center on Forest Avenue.

Former patient Marissa Divincenzo urged state legislators to reject the plan. She says children should not be surrounded by adults with psychiatric problems.

"Seeing these adults at the stages they might be at might give these kids little to no hope that that may be what their future looks like, when it does not have to be," said Divincenzo. "These children are developing. No matter how emotionally stranded we might feel, we still want to have the opportunity to be a child and doing things children would be able to do."

New York State's Commissioner of Mental Health Ann Marie Sullivan says the facility's design would separate children and adults. She says closing West Seneca would save $4 million to spend on community-based services.