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‘What Happens When They’re 21?’ Cardinal Visits Catholic Charities Pediatric Center

Children at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center Catholic Charities New York

by John-Mark de Palma

Timothy Cardinal Dolan joined Catholic Charities’ Executive Director, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, in a visit to the largest post-acute care center for medically complex children in the nation – Catholic Charities' Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers. With 169 children who need continuous medical care and support in residence, they called attention to the “aging out” crisis affecting many of these children.

In New York State, medically complex individuals are phased out of pediatric treatment after the age of 21, forcing many of the young adults to leave the only home they know. According to the Center, 30 percent of the Center’s residents who ‘age out’ will die within 14 months due to the lack of long-term care options that can adequately meet their specialized needs. Currently geriatric nursing homes are often the only option left for these young adults.  “We strive to give our children opportunities to experience the fullness of life, but once they age out of our care, their options are severely limited and the consequences are dire,” said Pat Tursi, CEO of Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center.

The Center is looking to raise 45 million dollars to build a new 48 bed facility on the campus for those young adults who are ‘aged out’ of the current facility. “These are still young people,” said Cardinal Dolan, “and the older they get here the more they’re beloved and the more they’re an example to the other kids that come in, so if we can keep them in this embrace it will be so much better for them, so we have to work on that.”

Nationwide, there are approximately three million medically complex children.



Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center

Catholic Charities of New York: Residences for Special Needs


Related Content:

Cardinal Dolan Visits Pediatric Center | Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center

Cardinal Dolan Visits Pediatric Center Facing ‘Aged Out’ Crisis | News 12

“Aging Out” Yet Still Disabled | Alice Kenny, Catholic Charities of New York

Pediatric Center Plans Major Expansion | News 12 Westchester