Sesame Street: P is for 'Parent'... and, 'Prison'?

Sesame Street: P is for 'Parent'... and, 'Prison'?

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Sesame Street is no stranger to stepping beyond the A-B-C's and 1-2-3'S. But, it's latest move is drawing fire for rolling out a new program aimed at helping boys and girls deal with a mother or father who is incarcerated.

The popular, seminal children's learning program synonymous with colorful puppets and animated fun, is trying to help kids answer the question: "What happens when parents end up in jail?'

Sesame Street created an educational tool kit titled "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration" that debuted this week. The plan features stories, tips and activities to equip caregivers and children with the tools for coping with a parent who is in prison.

Lessons include "What is incarceration?" and activities like "Talking about your feelings." It's aimed at helping boys and girls ages 3 to 8 "as they encounter the difficult changes and transitions that come with a parent's incarceration."

The kit is available online in the FOR PARENTS area of the Sesame Street Web site.

According to a report released recently by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over half of America's prisoners are parents of minor children. Of the total 1,518,535 inmates in custody at mid-year 2007, 809,800 had children under eighteen -- an estimated 1,796,600 children.

This represents 2.3 percent of the total U.S. population under eighteen.

Between 1991 and 2007 the number of parents with minor children in prison increased by 79 percent, and the number of children by 80 percent

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