As a means of offering comfort to kids from every walk of life, Sesame Street is debuting a new Muppet character who lives in a foster home.

Karli the foster Muppet and her “for-now” parents, Dalia and Clem, are all being featured in a range of Sesame Street videos, storybooks, and interactive activities as a part of its new initiative to offer support to children, foster parents, and foster care providers.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the show, says that they are launching the initiative as part of their Sesame Street in Communities program, which provides free, easy-to-use resources for community providers and caregivers on a range of topics, including tough issues like family homelessness and traumatic experiences.

The free, bilingual new resources help caregivers and providers support children as they navigate the world of foster care, and they provide simple, approachable tools to help reassure children and help them feel safer.

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The number of children in foster care in the US has grown for five consecutive years. Over 40 percent of all children in foster care in 2016 were under age 6. In response to the growing need for resources to serve children in foster care, Sesame Workshop partnered with national experts on foster care and tested materials with both foster parents and providers.The resources include proven strategies to bolster relationships between caring adults and children and mitigate the effects of traumatic experiences.

“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,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of US Social Impact at Sesame Workshop.

“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. By giving the adults in children’s lives the tools they need—with help from the Sesame Street Muppets—we can help both grownups and children feel seen and heard and give them a sense of hope for the future.”

Photo by Zach Hyman / Sesame Workshop

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