According to the Arizona Department of Child Safety, in the 2017 fiscal year (began July of 2016), a total of 47,981 cases of child neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse were reported. Of those cases reported, 11,429 resulted in children being removed from their homes. Breaking it down even further, 6,545 children were placed in foster care. The remaining 4,884 children were placed in other forms of care ranging from being placed with other family members and legal guardians, to shelters and independent living. Siblings are often split up. Sadly 329 were marked down by Arizona DCS as runaways.
In one year alone. Nearly 50,000 new cases. In Arizona.
Already in the 2018 fiscal year 16,526 such cases have been reported.
According to a social worker who spoke with AllSportsTucson.com, around 18,000 children in the state of Arizona remain in foster care. Arizona for years has had, per capita, a percentage higher than the national average.
For the second year in a row the Tucson Roadrunners have teamed up with Aviva Children’s Services to find away they can address that issue this holiday season. If nothing else than to provide children a smile and some sense of comfort as they go through a traumatizing time in their lives and make their way through the holidays with a new fury, stuffed friend.
For AllSportsTucson.com’s Eric Kloc’s coverage of the Roadrunners game versus the Ontario ReignCLICK HERE
In their inaugural season in the Old Pueblo, The Roadrunners and Aviva collected 3,000 stuff animals using the annual Teddy Bear Toss, a popular tradition that many college and minor league hockey organizations have done over the years.
Roadrunners fans did not disappoint.
Monica Durand, Development & Community Relations Manager for Aviva, told us that the Roadrunners and Aviva were able to collect 3,700 teddy bears on Sunday evening to hand to children as they are being removed from their homes. After all was said and done, Aviva drove away with Roadrunners fans having filled a 20 foot U-Haul to capacity.
“This is the second year that the Tucson Roadrunners have selected Aviva as the beneficiary of the Teddy Bear Toss. Prior to the Roadrunners arriving in Tucson, the University of Arizona Hockey team had a Teddy Bear Toss as well. Some of the people that used to work for the UA hockey team now work for the Roadrunners, so they are familiar with our agency. The Roadrunners made it a point to select a Tucson based organization.”
Durand continued explaining Aviva’s outreach services and their partnership with the Roadrunners and the Arizona Department of Children’s Saftey;
“We serve close to 4,000 children in foster care. Some of the bears are going to go to our holiday program and we’ll be distributing them in our holiday giveaway on December 9th along with other toys.”
“We also use these teddy bears to pair them with quilts. The Department of Children’s Safety agents and staff members will hand these bears and quilts to children throughout the year as they are being removed from their homes to be placed into foster care. Aviva has been in Tucson for 40 years and we’ve had the holiday program giving toys and teddy bears for 38 of those years.”
“The teddy bears collected today will be going to our midtown facility to be counted and sorted. But we have already identified other organizations that serve foster children or under priviledged children and we’ll be sharing with them all that we’ve received as well.”
Aviva will be collecting toys at their mid-town facility at 153 South Plumer Ave. Monday through Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm. Those looking to make donations on weekends, Aviva is more than happy to accommodate your schedule, they only ask that you call ahead of time at phone number (520)327-6779 ext. 13. You can also visit www.avivatucson.org for tips on other ways you can help Tucson’s foster children.
Aviva Children’s Services Events Coming Up
Kruzin For Kids Holiday Parade – On December 9th, the motorcycle community gathers for holiday ride for the children being served by Aviva. This event has gone on for 36 years. Please reference the graphic above.
As well as…
More than 3,700 teddy bears were collected by the Tucson Roadrunners for Aviva Children’s Services. Video taken by Jose Roman Jr for AllSportsTucson.com with permission from the Tucson Roadrunners.