Sesame Workshop has announced a new initiative to support children in foster care, with the introduction of Sesame Street Muppets, Karli and her 'for-now' parents Dalia and Clem.
Karli and her 'for now' parents are the faces of a larger intiative being executed by Sesame Workshop as part of the Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC) program. The SSIC program provides free, bilingual resources and information covering difficult topics, such as family homelessness and traumatic experiences.
The program which focuses on foster care helps to guide caregivers and support children who are navigating the foster-care space, providing them with simple tools to help children feel safer.
In the US, the number of children in foster care sits at approximately 443,000 (2017), while in Australia, as of 30 June 2017, there were 47,915 Australian children living in out-of-home-care (OOHC).
Senior VP of US Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, Dr Jeanette Betancourt, said that Sesame Workshop wanted to recognise the work that foster parents do, as well as providing them with valuable tools.
"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.
"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.
"By giving the adults in children’s lives the tools they need – with help from the Sesame Street Muppets – we can help both grownups and children feel seen and heard and give them a sense of hope for the future."
In consultation with national experts on foster care, Sesame Workshop's resources include; video content where Karli and her parents explore the feelings, challenges and opportunities to grow in foster care; The Feeling Basket storybook which discusses 'finding a place' for big feelings; digital interactive modules including drawing and calming exercises; and, tips for foster parents on giving children calming and coping strategies, as well as age-appropriate responses to difficult questions.