Sesame Street helps kids of jailed parents with 'Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration'

 The number of children with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80 percent in the past two decades, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.  Now, Sesame Street is working to help young children to develop coping skills.

The Florida Department of Corrections says there are nearly 2.7 million children with a parent in state or federal prison.

Now, Sesame Workshop, the not-for-profit organization that creates Sesame Street, has created an initiative called "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration."  It is aimed at children ages 3 through 8 who have an incarcerated parents.  It's offered in both English and Spanish.

The initiative is aimed at helping to support and comfort young children who are dealing with the circumstances.  It also tries to help provide caregivers with tips to work with the children, and help incarcerated parents with long-distance communication.

Videos and resources are available online.  In one video, characters ask a third why his father is not available to participate in an activity.  The character says he is sad and doesn't want to talk about it.  The situation leads to an explanation of the definition of "incarceration."

The initiative suggests tips like, "Be patient as your child works to understand what has happened.  You may need to explain the situation several times.  Let him know he's not alone."  It also suggests parents keep in touch from jail by considering allowing children to visit and connecting by phone and written letters.

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