"Sesame Street" has tackled serious issues, like homelessness, death, and divorce, but now the children's program is taking on incarceration, introducing a new Muppet character, Alex, who has a parent in jail.
In a new online tool kit called "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration," kids can find support from others and learn to deal with range of emotions they might have about having a parent in prison.
"The incarceration of a loved one can be very overwhelming
for both children and caregivers," the "Sesame Street" website reads. "It can bring about big changes and transitions. In simple everyday ways, you can comfort your child and guide her through these tough moments. With your love and support she can get through anything that comes her way. Here are some tools to help you with the changes your child is going through."
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One in 28 children in the United States has a parent behind bars
, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report.
"Half of families say nothing. Another third say the parent is in the hospital or something like that. They don't know how to talk about it," University of Wisconsin psychologist Julie Poehlmann, who worked as an advisor on the "Sesame Street" series, said in a release. "The more our society can recognize the need to talk about this issue, the less stigmatized these kids will be."
Though the incarceration campaign has been applauded by some, others question its validity.
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