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Sesame Street’s Newest Muppet Is in Foster Care. Representation Matters.

For many of us, what we see on T.V. can have a huge impact on how we view ourselves and our lives. Whether we like to admit it or not, we tend to measure ourselves against the things we see presented in media. Marriages, friendships, family dynamics – whether consciously or not, we are influenced by these relationships we see, and this is why representation matters so much. Especially when it comes to young children.

It is for this reason that the news of the arrival of Karli, the newest muppet on Sesame Street, is so welcome. Karli is introduced as being a muppet that is in foster care, living with her foster parents Dalia and Clem.

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The arrival of Karli is part of an initiative by the “Sesame Street in Communities” program. The purpose of this initiative is to support kids in the foster care system, as well as their families and other support providers.

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The videos released of Karli explore the complicated feelings and adjustments that can come up in foster care situations. Not only just a case of children being represented, the addition of Karli’s “for now” parents Dalia and Clem also provide a model for foster parents themselves who may be trying to navigate the waters of their new family arrangements. This initiative also aims to show adults the very special and important role they can play in these children’s’ lives.

The initiative from Sesame Workshop is not only limited to videos of Karli. There is a page full of free bilingual resources that are aimed at kids and care providers in the foster care system. These resources include videos, a “feeling basket” storybook, digital interactive activities and tips for foster parents and care providers on how to support kids in care.

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This is such an amazing thing to have put together for families. There are so many children in foster care, it is a wonder that we don’t see them represented in media more often. Sadly, when they are, the stories presented are usually skewed in the negative.

Having something like this that is a resource, not only for kids but for their foster parents too, is truly a wonderful thing.

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