Have you met Karli? Her mom struggles with substance abuse, and she is in foster care. Karli is not a real child…she’s a six-year-old Muppet with yellow pigtails made of ostrich feathers. The creators of Sesame Street introduced her on the show last month. They did it because more than 400,000 children are in foster care in this country, and it is estimated that nearly 80% of those cases involve substance abuse. In the video, “Sesame Street in the Community,” available only online, Elmo’s dad explains to him that Karli’s mother has a disease called addiction that can make people act in ways they can’t control. Elmo and Karli talk together about “grown-up problems” and how sharing them can help when you’re frightened or sad. The videos show that Karli’s mother is getting treatment, and the rest of the neighborhood’s adults, kids and Muppets help Karli cope. What will the impact be when a time-honored show like Sesame Street tackles one of the country’s most significant problems? The producers want to know and so do we.
To hear Karli and her "for now family" sing about finding a place for oneself: