The Sesame Street franchise has been known to tackle serious issues including hunger, divorce, suicide and military deployment. Now the fuzzy muppets wants to help kids open up on the issue of incarcerated parents. Statistics say one in 28 children in the United States now has a parent behind bars.
That’s why the Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization that runs Sesame Street, says it created the “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” initiative, an online tool kit intended to help kids with a parent in prison find support and comfort, and provide families with strategies and tips to talk to their children about incarceration.
Hoodie wearing Alex with blue hair and a green nose will be introduced as the first Muppet to have a dad in jail. Alex will not be part of the regular cast on “Sesame Street,” but he’s playing a central role in the online tool kit.
Some observers are calling the move a sign of the times. “Congratulations, America, on making it almost normal to have a parent in prison or jail,” wrote a columnist on Reason.com.
I agree. Complicated issues of reality visit children far sooner than it should. It’s hard to know whether to celebrate the effort or weep that it’s needed.
- ‘Sesame Street’ creates first Muppet to have a parent in jail (today.com)
- Sesame Street: Why is my dad in jail? (metronews.ca)