August 5, 2021
As part of Sesame Street in Communities, the new resources will be designed to foster connections between children and incarcerated parents and provide support and comfort for families
Falls Church, Virginia – August 5, 2021 – GTL, a trusted partner that connects those affected by incarceration with the resources and support necessary to achieve success, is announcing a grant to Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, to create new Coping with Incarceration materials for children dealing with parental incarceration.
Incarceration of family members can be difficult and overwhelming for both children and their caregivers. According to a 2015 study, one in 14 children in the U.S., over five million total, have had a parent who was incarcerated at one point in their lives. It is important for families and caregivers to provide space and support to help children understand and process the anxiety, sadness, and confusion they may feel.
The forthcoming resources, releasing in Spring 2022 and made possible by the support of GTL, will build upon Sesame Workshop’s available materials to focus on helping children and their caregivers deal with both parental incarceration and with transition and community reentry for the incarcerated parent.
Coping with Incarceration is part of Sesame Street in Communities, a platform that provides tools for community providers and caregivers on the toughest issues children face, particularly on topics where there are few existing resources for young children. Existing Coping with Incarceration resources were found in a study published in the Journal of Development and Psychopathology to improve children’s ability to “bounce back” after visits to incarcerated parents and improve caregivers’ ability to communicate with their children.
“Coping with the impact of parental incarceration is never easy —especially for young children —and Sesame Workshop is dedicated to supporting families and helping them process big feelings together,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of US Social Impact, Sesame Workshop. “In addition to focusing on children’s emotional needs, these new resources are intended to help incarcerated parents navigate their ongoing role as a parent during incarceration and into reentry. We are grateful for the support of GTL to enable us to continue giving children and families the tools they need to cope with the challenges of incarceration.”
The new materials will be created by Sesame Workshop to strengthen connections for the whole family.
- For young children, resources will focus on supporting and comforting them throughout the experience.
- For caregivers, resources will focus on strategies, tips, and age-appropriate language they can use to communicate with children about incarceration.
- For incarcerated individuals, resources will highlight the importance of communication and their ongoing role as a parent.
“It is a tremendous honor to partner with Sesame Workshop to expand the resources provided for children of incarcerated parents,” said Deb Alderson, GTL President & CEO. “A national treasure, Sesame Street has been a childhood staple for over 50 years, dedicated to assisting in the healthy development of children across the world. Sesame Street in Communities: Coping with Incarceration extends help and guidance to a population that is often overlooked when someone is incarcerated. The resources that will be created through this partnership will focus on children’s emotional needs, helping them understand what is happening and, when possible, continuing a strong parent-child bond that will last through incarceration and reentry.”
In addition to printed materials and activities that will be available for free at www.sesamestreetincommunities.org, Sesame Workshop and GTL will work together to create comforting and safe spaces for children and families within correctional facilities across the country. Visitation is important in strengthening bonds between children and their incarcerated parent, and these designated child-friendly spaces will be designed to reduce the fear and anxiety children may feel when visiting a facility, while providing resources for families.
“At GTL, we have been working to truly make a difference in the lives of incarcerated individuals, and at Sesame Workshop, they have been truly making a difference in the lives of children,” concluded Ms. Alderson. “By combining our efforts, we can provide more well-rounded, family-focused resources that are a benefit to everyone affected by incarceration.”
For over 30 years, GTL has worked side-by-side with correctional facilities and government agencies to provide imperative technology solutions to over 1.2 million incarcerated individuals across the globe. These solutions facilitate meaningful connections, provide educational opportunities, enable successful reentry, and strengthen operational efficiency. GTL is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, with an employee presence throughout North America and was recognized as a 2021 Top Workplace USA by Energage. To learn more about GTL, please visit www.gtl.net, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re present in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit www.sesameworkshop.org.