Cardinals coach Bruce Arians (left) and Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay raise Foster Care Awareness at a press conference on Friday.
Coaches like sports arenas to be filled up, but not for Bruce Arians in this instance.
The Cardinals coach held a press conference on Friday to announce a partnership with the Department of Child Safety to raise awareness of the need for foster and adoptive parents. Arians said the current number of kids in foster care in Maricopa County would overflow the capacity of Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns.
"There's over 19,000 (foster kids)," Arians said. "We need help."
Arians and his wife, Christine, have long been advocates for foster children, raising money and awareness for them through the Arians Family Foundation. May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, so Arians joined Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay to help spread the word about the difficulties many children face.
McKay said the state's child abuse hotline will get more than 400 calls per day regarding abuse or neglect, and that 35 children are taken into state care each day because they are harmed or endangered at home. McKay said approximately five kids die per day nationally because of child abuse.
"These numbers are staggering," McKay said.
Arians knows taking on the responsibility of foster care isn't for everyone, but he said there are many ways to help. Volunteering time for the children by becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate can have an immeasurable impact on children's lives.
"My plea is, we have so many seniors in the Valley who I think are looking for something to do," Arians said. "And what better way to use all of your expertise than in helping a child? Not everyone's a foster parent, but you can do so many things to help a child's life in volunteering."
McKay said the Arians Family Foundation has been an outstanding partner in raising awareness, and hopes the visibility of Friday's press conference will bring the issue to the forefront of people's minds.
"A lot of people hear this and say, 'I had no idea. I can help. I'm retired, or our kids are grown and we can help. We just didn't know,'" McKay said. "So the awareness is huge. We need it, because obviously the numbers don't add up. There are 19,000 kids in care and 4,000 foster parents. We need more."