Step aside Elmo and Abby Cadabby, there's a new Muppet on "Sesame Street." Alex, the first Muppet to have a dad in jail, was created by Sesame Workshop to help children ages 3-8 to cope when a parent is incarcerated.
The new "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration" campaign was launched due to the increasing need for resources and support for children dealing with a parent's incarceration. According to a special report from the "Bureau of Justice Statistics," the number of children with an incarcerated parent has increased nearly 80 percent in the past 20 years. Nearly 2.7 million children have a parent in state or federal prison.
Through an online tool kit on sesameworkshop.com, adults will find support, tips and age-appropriate language to help communicate with children about incarceration. There's also a "Sesame Street" DVD featuring a Muppet story, live-action films showcasing real children and families, guidebooks, children's storybooks, downloadable apps, printable fact sheets and more.