Written by Joseph Pinciaro A group of parents and employees spoke up on Tuesday to protest the proposed closure of the Sagamore Children's Psychiatric Center in
Dix Hills, a move which would shutter inpatient services at the
facility and merge them with programs in Queens and the Bronx.
New York State's Office of Mental Health released a 'Regional Centers of Excellence'
plan last month, a 58-page document which started with a letter from
Acting Commissioner Kristin Woodlock noting that "the time has come to
fundamentally change the way we think about mental health in New York
Such change includes a proposal which would eliminate all
adolescent inpatient services on Long Island, leaving Pilgrim
Psychiatric Center in Brendwood – which would be renamed Island Regional
Center of Excellence – as the only inpatient facility in Nassau and
Suffolk Counties. Teens would still be able to receive outpatient
services through Sagamore, the plan says. However parents of children
who have used Sagamore, as well as staff, have said that the coverage is
not enough for such a vulnerable group.
Newsday quoted Dennis Dubey,
executive director at Sagamore from 2003-2011, as saying the
following: "Unless Sagamore remains open, parents will be placed in the
unenviable position of risking their children at home versus sending
them somewhere relatively inaccessible to their families."
News12 spoke to one mother
– Nancy Barry of Bethpage – whose 15-year-old son had used outpatient
care before. It "wasn't enough," she said, and her son has seen more
fitting care at Sagamore since May.
"He needed the hands on constant care of having therapists
and psychiatrists and support staff round him at all times," she said.