Sesame Workshop’s recently announced initiative supporting foster children and parents is also bringing a new face to Sesame Street.
Karli is described as “a young Muppet in foster care” who’s currently living with her “for-now” parents Dalia and Clem. Her storyline will reflect many of the issues facing foster children and parents, including how to cope with multiple life transitions.
The initiative is part of the Sesame Street in Communities program, which provides resources for providers and caregivers on topics including homelessness and traumatic experiences–and the foster care system was an immediate issue to tackle.
According to statistic provided by Sesame Workshop, the number of children in foster care in the U.S. has grown for five years straight. In 2017 alone, nearly 443,000 children spent time in foster care. And in 2016, over 40% of all children in foster care were under the age of 6.
“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, EdD, senior vice president of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop in a statement. “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.”
Karli is another example of how Sesame Workshop is listening and responding to the current needs of children. Two years ago, they introduced Julia, their first new muppet in a decade who is also autistic.
“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,” said Betancourt.
Meet Karli in the video below.