A woman gives Elmo and another muppet, Lily, a big hug.Lily is faced with some traumatic experiences.

Traumatic Experience

Helping children cope with traumatic experiences and giving caring adults the tools to foster nurturing connections.

Nearly 1 in 7 American children today grow up in poverty. With economic hardship comes added stresses, such as hunger, uncertain housing, and a parent absent or behind bars.

Often, children face compounding challenges — such as being placed in foster care due to a parent’s substance abuse disorder. Studies show that exposure to these kinds of traumatic experiences in the first five years of life can hold back children at a critical time in their development, with lasting consequences if they don’t receive the right support. But children are remarkably resilient, and traumatic experiences don’t need to define a child’s long-term trajectory.

Grounded in the latest research and created in consultation with experts, our resources feature proven strategies used by social workers, therapists, health care providers, and educators. From targeted resources on tough topics like homelessness or foster care, to professional development for community providers serving families most in need, Sesame Workshop is helping children cope with challenges big and small.

Circles of Care

Sesame is going directly into communities to help children and families get through tough situations and come out the other side stronger. Our free, bilingual resources include videos, storybooks, games, and activities that give children and caregivers the tools needed to cope with life’s biggest challenges. The work is sustained through a circle of local providers like teachers and social and health workers who serve families directly impacted by traumatic experiences.

Lily and Elmo
Almost half a million children and youth in the US are in foster care today.
Lending a Hand
In response to the growing need for resources for children in foster care, Sesame Workshop partnered with national experts and tested materials with both foster parents and providers. The resources include proven strategies to help children in foster care cope with transitions and simple, approachable tools to help reassure children as they navigate the foster care system.
You Are Not Alone

We’re helping teachers, doctors, social workers, and caregivers give children a strong and healthy start. We’re connecting a network of community service providers around the country who work with vulnerable children every day, equipping them with free professional development training, easy-to-share resources for families, and much more.

Featured Spotlight
Meet Karli

Karli is a young, 6-and-a-half year old green monster with yellow hair who is in the care of two foster parents, Dalia and Clem. Karli’s mother is away getting treatment for her addiction but Karli has the support of her foster parents and her friend Elmo to navigate this big change and remember that she belongs.

1 in 8 Children

Live in a household with a parent who has a substance abuse disorder — a number that doesn’t include the countless children not living with a parent due to separation or divorce, incarceration, or death as a result of their addiction.

Initiative Partners