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Talking About Foster Care, Mental Health, and Resilience on Sesame Street

(From left: Elmo with Karli, a new Muppet who is in foster care, and her foster, or “for now,” parents, Dalia and Clem. Photo Courtesy of TheAtlantic.com)

On any given day, there are as many as 440,000 children in the U.S. in foster care — and nearly half of them are under the age of six. Children enter care because they have endured some form of trauma or disruption. And without caregivers in place to help kids feel safe, seen, and protected, the very act of placing a child into a different home can cause even further trauma, anxiety, and uncertainty.

In a new set of materials released this month, our partners at Sesame Workshop are helping foster parents  to nurture and support the children in their care. Available on the Sesame Street in Communities website, the resources include an interactive storybook and printable activities, as well as videos featuring a new Muppet friend, Karli, and her foster parents Clem and Dalia.

This month, public attention turns to the importance of adequate access to mental health resources and treatment. For children moving through the foster care system, this issue couldn’t be more important. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as many as 8 in 10 foster youth have mental health issues, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has identified mental and behavioral health as the “greatest unmet health need for children and teens in foster care.” One proven way to make a difference is through interventions and relationships that help rebuild a child’s sense of belonging, sense of self, and sense of trust.

The foster care module is the latest in a series of packages that Sesame Workshop has produced to support kids going through traumatic experiences. As part of the ACE Awareness Foundation’s ongoing partnership with Sesame Workshop, all four Universal Parenting Places (UPPs) in Memphis have embedded Sesame Street in Communities resources into their programming. For more information, visit our SSIC partnership page.

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