Weekly Feature

2016-02-17 / Local News

Hats, gloves donated through Save Our Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center Coalition


Stephanie McLean Beathley, right, and Jasmine Davis help a student pick out a hat and gloves as part of the Save Our Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center Coalition’s second annual clothing drive on Feb. 11 to benefit children in the Community Action Organization Head Start Program. 
Photo by Chuck SkipperPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Stephanie McLean Beathley, right, and Jasmine Davis help a student pick out a hat and gloves as part of the Save Our Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center Coalition’s second annual clothing drive on Feb. 11 to benefit children in the Community Action Organization Head Start Program. Photo by Chuck SkipperPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The Save Our Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center Coalition, in partnership with New York State United Teachers, donated hats and gloves to the Community Action Organization Head Start Program Feb. 11, as stated in a release from the coalition.

“While it has been a mild winter, children still need to be bundled up to prevent winter illnesses,” said Stephanie McLean Beathley, president of PEF Local 167. “This is our second year of giving back to a community that continues to join in our fight to preserve children’s mental health in West Seneca. It has been a long road, but the support of the community and our state representatives have provided us with encouragement and momentum.”

According to the coalition, the governor has announced plans to close the center and transfer the children to four floors of the adult Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The coalition is fighting to save the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center because they believe children do not belong in the same facility as adults.

“Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center opened in 1970 because traumatized, emotionally fragile children with severe psychiatric problems do not belong in an adult facility,” said Flo Tripi, CSEA Western Region president. “Children require specialized care and a specialized environment. Today, WNYCPC continues to be a state-of-the-art facility for treating children and teens. It provides a safe, welcoming, nurturing environment. Families are also welcomed and involved in treatment, and family involvement is extremely important.”

Children have individual needs that require specialized services, according to McLean Beathley.

“Children need space and support to move forward with the healing process. WNYCPC has everything the children need. As president of Local 167, we are united with the Save Our WNYCPC coalition, our WNY delegation and brothers and sisters of CSEA to ensure that our children are not locked up and tossed away.”

According to Tom Weston, president of CSEA’s Western New York Office of People With Developmental Disabilities, the center has the lowest readmission rate of any psychiatric facility in the state.

“The environment at WNYCPC cannot be duplicated at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The plan to move the children to the adult facility is unacceptable,” Weston said.

This year, the Save Our Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center Coalition is working with New York State United Teachers who represents the para-professionals at the Community Action Organization Head Start, the release said.

“The staff is very committed to the children and families at all the CAO centers throughout Erie County despite unfair labor practices,” said Danielle Judge, NYSUT organizer.

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