Sesame Street introduced a new character on Monday named Karli — who is described as a “young Muppet in foster care.”
The debut was part of a new initiative being rolled out in the Sesame Street in Communities program, which provides “free, easy-to-use resources for community providers and caregivers on a range of topics, including tough issues like family homelessness and traumatic experiences,” according to Sesame Workshop officials.
The resources being offered are bilingual and will help people “navigate” the world of foster care by providing “simple, approachable tools to help reassure children and help them feel safer.”
“We want foster parents and providers to hear that what they do matters,” said Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of social impact at Sesame Workshop, in a statement Monday.
“They have the enormous job of building and rebuilding family structures and children’s sense of safety,” she explained. “By giving the adults in children’s lives the tools they need — with help from the ‘Sesame Street’ Muppets — we can help both grown-ups and children feel seen and heard and give them a sense of hope for the future.”
Sesame Street fans got their first look at Karli in a YouTube video titled “You Belong” — which also featured her “for-now parents” Dalia and Clem. In the clip, the trio welcomes Elmo over for dinner and he talks with them about Karli being a foster child.
“She’s having a hard time Elmo, but we’re here for her,” Clem says. “We’re her for-now-parents.”
Still speaking to Elmo, Dalia adds: “Sometimes even mommies and daddies need some help taking care of their children. Karli’s mommy has been having a hard time, so we are her foster parents or her for-now-parents. We will keep her safe until her mommy can take care of her again.”
The pair later serenades Karli, telling her: “There is a place for you here…You belong.”
“Children in foster care often experience many transitions — from their separation from birth parents, to their placement in foster care, to many moves,” said the Sesame Workshop. “The new resources are designed to help children in crisis cope along the way.”
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