NY TREATMENT ADVOCACY COALITION
250 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 1999
Advocates Praise Governor Pataki, Assembly Speaker Silver, Attorney General Spitzer and Webdale Family for Passing Kendra’s Law
Senate (49-2) and Assembly (142-4) pass bill by wide margin indicating overwhelming support
New York, NY -- Kendra Webdale’s death was a tragedy. What came out of it is a miracle. The passage of Kendra's Law ushers in a new era of protection for the severely mentally ill and communities throughout New York. Kendra's Law moves us closer to a system where the severely mentally ill can receive needed treatment even when they become too ill to recognize their need for it. It will now be possible for families to treat their loved ones before they become dangerous, rather than being forced to wait until it is too late.
We thank Governor Pataki, Assembly Speaker Silver, and Attorney General Spitzer for working with the Webdales and Treatment Advocacy Center in formulating Kendra’s Law. We are delighted New York is joining with 40 other states in making this lifesaving form of community treatment available to its residents.
We also thank the broad coalition of mental health advocates and advocates for public safety that supported this bill: the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of New York State, Center for the Community Interest, Public Employees Federation, NYS Association of Chiefs of Police, Victim’s Services Agency and many others. We commend New York’s six largest newspapers for their support of this vital legislation: New York Times, Albany Times Union, Buffalo News, Newsday, New York Post and Daily News. We note that Kendra’s Law passed the New York State legislature by 49-2 in the Senate and 142-4 in the Assembly indicating strong support.
We are particularly grateful to the Webdale family for their amazing efforts and to the political leaders for listening to the ideas of the Treatment Advocacy Center and incorporating our thinking in the legislation. Research in Washington, DC, Iowa, Ohio and elsewhere has shown Assisted Outpatient Treatment reduces violence and re-hospitalizations. A study at Bellevue Hospital demonstrated a 57 percent reduction in hospital days for patients receiving assisted outpatient treatment. Kendra’s Law helps patients live successfully outside hospitals rather than imprisoned in them. It also keeps communities safer.
We salute the Webdales and Edgar Rivera, along with Charles and Nadine Stevens and all the others who came forward to tell their personal stories. We thank the state’s leadership and their staffs, and look forward to working with them to continue to improve the quality of care for New Yorkers suffering with brain disorders.
Kendra's Law opens the door to freedom and renewed hope for the thousands of New Yorkers once held hostage by their psychosis. New Yorkers across the state will reap the benefits of this compassionate law.