"Sesame Street" has introduced a new character named Karli -- a young Muppet in foster care, and her “for-now” parents, Dalia and Clem.
Karli's debut is part of initiative from the "Sesame Street in Communities" program, which provides free resources for community providers and caregivers on various topics, including tough issues like homelessness and traumatic experiences, according to Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind the popular children's show.
The free, bilingual resources, including digital interactives and printables, were released online today and help caregivers and providers support children as they navigate the world of foster care.
YouTube videos featuring Karli are also being promoted through the program including one called, "On Your Team," in which Elmo’s dad Louie chats with Karli's foster parents, Dalia and Clem.
"How's everything been since becoming her foster parents?" Louie says in the video.
"Well, changes like this can be really rough for kids and for adults too," Clem replies.
"It's had its ups and downs," Dalia chimes in. "But no matter what, we try to let Karli know we are always here for her."
Other videos include "You Belong," where Karli worries she doesn’t have a “place at the table” at a pizza party in her new foster home and "A Heart Can Grow," in which Karli shares an art project with Elmo that demonstrates that while she may feel like her heart is breaking, it can get bigger when more love is added.
"Fostering a child takes patience, resilience, and sacrifice, and we know that caring adults hold the power to buffer the effects of traumatic experiences on young children,” Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop said in a press release. “We want foster parents and providers to hear that what they do matters -- they have the enormous job of building and rebuilding family structures and children’s sense of safety."
Betancourt added that Sesame Street Muppets like Karli and her foster parents can help grownups and kids "feel seen and heard" and provide hope for the future.