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Mayor Byron W. Brown
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Home » Press Releases » 2008 News Archive » Mayor Brown Announces City 'Project Safe Place' Effort

Mayor Brown Announces City 'Project Safe Place' Effort

City Hall, along with all Buffalo Police District Houses and Buffalo Fire Department Fire Houses to be Designated "Safe Place" Locations

BUFFALO – Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced the establishment of a new, citywide Project Safe Place system that will include every Police District station house and every Fire Department fire house, as well as City Hall. That will make 25 Project Safe Locations connected to the City of Buffalo – 19 fire house, 5 police district station houses and City Hall.

The Mayor's announcement follows the recent, tragic death of a newborn baby from Lackawanna that was found late last week in a South Buffalo dumpster.

"Project Safe Place is a national program designed to provide access to immediate help and support services for young people in crisis," said Mayor Brown. "Following tragedies such as what occurred late last week and many other instances of youth experiencing genuine crises, it is imperative that we create as many opportunities as we can to help them overcome their individual problems. I am very appreciative of Compass House and the Citizens' Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect for working with my Administration to expand this program throughout the city and I know that our dedicated police and fire professionals will help ensure that these youth are properly directed to the services they need."

Project Safe Place provides access to immediate help and supportive resources for young people in crisis through a network of sites sustained by qualified agencies, trained volunteers, and businesses. The objective of this effort is to increase access to emergency shelter and supportive services for youth in crisis.

"Our nineteen Buffalo Fire Department fire houses have already served as safe haven locations for children in crisis, but it is even more important to stand with the Mayor, the Commissioners of Police and Community Services and the dedicated social service agency representatives to demonstrate our shared commitment to the Project Safe Place program," said Fire Commissioner Michael Lombardo. "We will continue to serve our city's residents, especially troubled children who need these type of services."

"In the aftermath of this tragic situation I felt the need to do something positive," said Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson. "In an effort to prevent something like this from recurring in the future, employing Buffalo Police District Station Houses as Safe Places in concert with Compass House is the right thing to do for circumstances such as this."

"It is important that families know that there are safe havens throughout the City of Buffalo to prevent tragedies like this," said City of Buffalo Community Services Commissioner Tanya Perrin Johnson. "This tragedy should be the impetus for parents to continue and/ begin having open communication with their children."

Compass House's mission is to provide runaway and homeless youth with safe shelter and services, through a voluntary and mutually agreed-upon process, in an environment that supports dignity, respect and self-reliance.

"We are pleased that City Hall and the Buffalo Police and Fire Departments are joining with Compass House to help provide more Safe Places for youth in crisis to go when they need help. Any child who walks into one of these sites displaying the black and yellow Safe Place sign, will have access to the help they need," said Sylvia H. Nadler, executive director of Compass House. "By becoming Safe Place sites, they are also helping to spread awareness about Safe Place to the community and to kids who may one day benefit from its resources."

"Despite the support of the law and the availability of resources, we still have not been successful in letting the most vulnerable of our citizens, a frightened young woman facing a horrible crisis, know that the community will help and support her," said B. Kevin Burke, Director of Children's Services, Child & Family Services. We need to do better."

The Citizens Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect was created in 1984 as a response to the rising incidence of reported neglect and abuse of children in our community. Made up of concerned parents, community provider agency staff, representatives of elected officials, and ordinary citizens concerned about children, the Task Force's Mission is to end the cycle of child abuse and neglect through information sharing, education and training, and advocacy for children; and to promote collaboration, cooperation and communication among parents, community organizations and public officials. The Citizens Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect seeks to provide a unified voice for children, "Because the voice of the community is louder than the voice of a child."

"While the New York State Abandoned Infant Protection Act was passed in 2000, which provides for ‘safe havens' for troubled youth, the creation of this citywide Project Safe Place program creates another outlet, supported by local social services agencies, for youth who are in crisis and need professional help," said Mayor Brown. "Two key phone numbers that we want to share today are the Compass House number, which is 886-0935 and the toll-free number that is connected to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Safe Haven program and that is 1-800-505-SAFE (7233)."