Sesame Street, that 40 year stalwart of children's television, has launched a new multimedia project, aimed specifically at the children of incarcerated parents, to help them articulate their emotional response to the situation. Targeted at the 3 to 8 year old age bracket, the venture “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” includes videos and other activities for both the children affected and for their primary guardians. Available in English and Spanish on the new 'Sesame Street in Communities'
Incarceration can have a devastating effect on the family, increasing the risk of childhood behavioural problems by 33% and childhood depression or anxiety by 20%. Nearly 2.7 million American children are growing up with a parent who is in prison. In a press release about the new initiative, Sesame Street said the project was designed to:
Support, comfort, and reduce anxiety, sadness, and confusion that young children may experience during the incarceration of a parent. The number of children with an incarcerated parent has increased nearly 80% in the past 20 years. Nearly 2.7 million children have a parent in state or federal prison, yet few resources exist to support young children and families with this life-changing circumstance.
You can see a selection of the videos here:
Although many will bristle at the fact that the project is sponsored by BAE Systems, the videos are a vital addition to previous the Sesame Street initiatives that have provided support and guidance for children all over the world.