Sesame Street is tackling the tough issue of homelessness. The popular children’s show has introduced new muppet Karli, a yellow-haired friend of Elmo’s who introduces viewers to her “for-now parents” Dalia and Clem.
The addition of Karli is part of an initiative from the “Sesame Street in Communities” program, which provides free resources for community providers and caregivers on various topics, including difficult issues such as homelessness and traumatic experiences, according to Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street.
In one video, Karli’s foster mom explains to Elmo that Karli’s mother is “having a hard time” and that they will “keep her safe until her mommy can take care of her again.”
Elmo innocently asks when that will be, to which Karli’s foster mom explains they’re not sure. But “what we do know is that Karlie belongs here now.”
“We want her here with us,” she says.
Karli will be featured in new videos, interactive activities for families and storybooks available for free online. You can watch one of the videos below the story.
“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 Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of US Social Impact at Sesame Workshop. “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.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Children’s Bureau, there are more than 440,000 children and youth in foster care.