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Children's Psych Center faces uncertain future

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Albany is still pushing to close the Children's Psychiatric Center in West Seneca while supporters of the center are still pushing back.

There are hearings Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon on the state plan to shift the center programs and patients into renovated space at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. Despite the costs, the State Office of Mental Health says it will save money.

Melanie Porter is the sister of a children's center patient who has recovered after treatment. Porter says she supports the center because of other families.

"Before they tear their hair out and before their world flips upside down, they should know there is a place designed just for children," said Porter at a roundtable forum Monday evening.

The center was once part of a much larger state complex in West Seneca which has gradually been shut down, mostly in favor of group homes.

Supporters made a pitch Monday to several state senators, including Robert Ortt and Catherine Young, to block the closing and shift to BPC.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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