Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed Wednesday that the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center will permanently remain in West Seneca after a long battle with community members and local leaders.
Cuomo cited community input as the reason for the decision.
"The Western New York community has consistently spoken with one voice and we are listening," Governor Cuomo said.
In 2016, the New York State Office of Mental Health decided to move the Center from West Seneca to Buffalo and create an impatient unit within the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The move was met with community outcry, despite a promise from officials that the children would never be in contact with the adults at the facility.
The intended move was an attempt to save taxpayer funds while also allowing the Children's Psychiatric Center to expand and accommodate more families.
Critics of the move formed the Coalition to Save the Children's Psychiatric Center, saying the close proximity to adult patients would put children at risk.
In the summer of 2017 the group filed a lawsuit to stop the move, and both houses of the State Legislature passed a bill that would have kept the Children's Psychiatric Center in West Seneca. In November, Governor Cuomo vetoed that bill.
On Tuesday, WNY Children's Psychiatric Attorney Steven Cohen called for an investigation into the Governor's office as to why they were deciding to move the facility. Later that afternoon, a state official confirmed to 7 Eyewitness News that the Psychiatric Center would remain in West Seneca.
With his official announcement on Wednesday, Governor Cuomo said the state had identified other resources to help the facility expand to serve 1,000 children without moving them to Buffalo."The new plan for the Children's Psychiatric Center will ensure the same level of care for Western New York families while addressing the concerns of the community," Governor Cuomo said.
"I am grateful for the input and engagement from the community and will continue to work with them to ensure the highest quality of care for our children."
Governor Cuomo also announced the state would complete the renovations at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center and will repurpose the space for future use.
The State is committed to completing renovations of what would have been the new location in Buffalo and will repurpose the space for future use.
Governor Cuomo did note that the relocation would have saved the state an anticipated $3.2 million, and the state was planning to use that money to invest in other child and family mental health services in Western New York.
However, the New York State Office of Mental Health had already invested some of that anticipated savings and spent more than $1.68 million things like 24 hour home and community based services, WNY Children's mobile integration team, the Children's Outpatient Clinic expansion, and the expansion of the Mobile Mental Health Juvenile Justice Team.