Sesame Street is introducing a new initiative to support children affected by parental addiction. The initiative features a Muppet named Karli, whose mother struggles with addiction, The Washington Post reports.
Videos and other online content feature Karli, along with Sesame Street characters including Elmo and Abby Cadabby. The content is part of the Sesame Street in Communities program.
“There’s nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective,” said Kama Einhorn, a senior content manager with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street. “Even a parent at their most vulnerable — at the worst of their struggle — can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids, then that serves the purpose.”
According to a Sesame Workshop news release, the bilingual online content tells children, “You are not alone. You will be taken care of. Addiction is a sickness and, as with any sickness, people need help to get better. And most importantly: It’s not your fault.”
Karli was introduced in May 2019 as part of the Sesame Street in Communities foster care initiative. Her storyline has now expanded to include the reason she was placed in foster care: her mother needed addiction treatment, and is now in recovery.