“Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” Campaign Provides Tools to Help Children of Incarcerated Parents

Did you know that almost 2 million children in the United States have a parent that is incarcerated? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children of incarcerated parents are more likely face other adverse childhood experiences, including witnessing violence in their communities or directly in their household or exposure to drug and alcohol abuse. In order to improve the outcomes of these children, the federal government and Sesame Workshop have teamed up to provide resources.

Sesame Workshop’s “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” Campaign and the Children of Incarcerated Parents Federal Working Group have released materials to teach better coping skills and increase access to helpful resources to lessen the trauma children face when a parent is incarcerated.

Sesame Workshop’s newest initiative, Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration provides free bilingual (English/Spanish) multimedia tools for families with young children (ages 3–8) who have an incarcerated parent, including A Guide for Parents and Caregivers, a Children’s Storybook, and a new Sesame Street video; an Incarcerated Parent Tip Sheet; and the Sesame Street: Incarceration mobile app, and more, all at SesameStreet.org/Incarceration.

The Children of Incarcerated Parents Federal Work Group worked with partners across the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to identify opportunities to support these children and their caregivers. The group developed a toolkit for child welfare agencies, federal prisons and residential reentry centers to address issues faced by incarcerated parents. This Fact Sheet describes the efforts of the interagency group. 

The Children in Foster Care with Parents in Federal Prison Toolkit includes:

  • Answers to questions frequently asked by social workers and prison and residential reentry center staff
  • Definitions of terms used by the various agencies
  • Timelines for important events that affect parents and children
  • Contact information for State Child Welfare Agencies
  • Additional Resources that would be helpful for parents and staff

For additional resources, visit Find Youth Info's Children of Incarcerated Parents Page.

To learn more about the Children of Incarcerated Parents initiative, read about the June 12 White House event honoring 12 community leaders who work to ensure that innocent children do not suffer as a consequence of adult decisions: Champions of Change.