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New Child Protective Services stirring up debate

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Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 18:10:41-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County is in the process of moving its Child Protective Services office from downtown Buffalo to Cheektowaga, but some people think that's a bad idea.

"This sucks. It really really does, and when it boils down you only hurt the poor people," Latoya Waller said.

The new location is at the AppleTree Business Park on Union Road. Erie County said it's in a more central location, but some Buffalonians think that is "mularkey."

"They’re taking it away, and it's going to be awful for us," Louise Nolley said.

Both Nolley and Waller said they used CPS multiple times in the past. They live in Buffalo and have been able to access it easily because of the train. Now, with the new Cheektowaga location, it's going to be tougher for them to get there.

"I don’t drive. I would have to be in a car get a car get a ride," Nolley said.

However, the County said this move was necessary. The CPS building on Main Street was in deteriorating condition and had no parking.

In a tweet from county executive Mark Poloncarz he said the new facility features, "beautiful offices, workstations, conference rooms, break rooms and even lactation rooms for new moms."

7 Eyewitness News reached out to CPS for a comment, but no one was available.

"We look forward to the next phase of employees moving into a location that is centrally located for all county residents, is on a major bus route and providing free parking to employees and residents who need to conduct county business there,” Erie County said.

Duncan Kirkwood doesn't think these reasons are good enough, though. He is a legislative candidate in Erie County. He said that these services are now being taken away from the people who really need them.

"About 44 percent of the children removed from their homes are black children," Kirkwood said.

That number is actually around 38 percent, but nevertheless, he thinks this move is exacerbated by the fact that the majority of Erie County's African American population lives in Buffalo.

"But moving a place from people can get family services further away in no way helps that problem," he said.

While CPS employees have already started moving to the Union Road location, the current facility is still open and should be used for all purposes. The county hopes to move all operations to the AppleTree Business Market by the end of the year.