Last week, Sesame Street added a new character, to whom more than 2.7 million American children can now relate. The show introduced Alex, a child whose father is in prison, in a video included in the online interactive, “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration.”
The “Little Children, Big Challenges” feature aims to reach children facing complex challenges, including bullying, sibling rivalry and parental incarceration.
Recent reports indicate that more than half of inmates in the US have children under the age of 18. As a result, there are more than 2.7 million children with a parent that is incarcerated (that translates to 3.6% or 1 in 28 American children). Most of the parents (66%) are incarcerated for non-violent crimes.
The Sesame Street website provides tips for caregivers to help the growing number of children affected by incarceration and features videos of both real-world children and Sesame Street characters sharing their own experiences with the subject.
Check out their tool-kit here. Well done Sesame Street, well done.
The toolkit is great. Reading the tips makes me want to cry for those poor kids— a friend leads a girl scout troop made up of girls whose moms are in prison, and the challenges that they face are just mind-boggling. Not only has the system disproportionately fucked you (probably in regards to your race, gender, and drug laws), now you have to fight to see your kid, or, in one case, to get care for your newly-diagnosed breast cancer.