“Sesame Street” is taking another stride in helping kids navigate difficult situations.
According to The Atlantic, the Sesame Street in Communities program introduced a Muppet character on Monday who is in foster care. The initiative features a series of videos addressing questions and concerns about foster care. It also offers an interactive storybook and printable activities.
The new “Sesame Street” character, Karli, lives with her foster parents Clem and Dalia, who are helping her deal with the “ups and downs” (as Dalia puts it) of being separated from her birth parents.
In one video, above, Elmo’s dad Louie (yes, Elmo’s had an onscreen dad since 2006), asks Clem and Dalia: “How has everything been going, since becoming her foster parents?”
In a refreshing response, Clem admits, “Changes like this can be really rough for kids. And for adults, too.”
In another video, below, Karli shows her pal Elmo that Dalia taught her that “even when our hears feel sad and small, they can still grow. The more love they get, the more they grow.”
For the moment, scenes with Karli will only be available online, and it is unclear if she will be included on the iconic children’s TV show.
“Fostering a child takes patience, resilience and sacrifice, and we know that caring adults hold the power to buffer the effects of traumatic experiences on young children,” said Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, per ABC.
“We want foster parents and providers to hear that what they do matters — they have the enormous job of building and rebuilding family structures and children’s sense of safety.”
The online resources for the Sesame Street in Communities program are intended to help parents, caregivers, social workers, therapists and anyone else working with kids in these situations.
“Sesame Street” has introduced multiple characters meant to familiarize children with real-world issues. They include Julia, who is on the autism spectrum, as well as characters with incarcerated parents or experiencing family homelessness.
The Sesame Workshop also plans to release videos and materials about substance abuse in October, per The Atlantic.