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OTRC: 'Sesame Street' creates Muppet with dad in jail (Video)

Alex, a Muppet whose parent is in jail, and several 'Sesame Street' cast members appear in a video for Sesame Workshop's 'Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration' initiative. (©2013. Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved.)

Sesame Workshop, the company behind "Sesame Street," is tackling a difficult subject for its new outreach program -- kids whose parents are incarcerated.

The outreach initiative is called "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration." It is a bilingual, multimedia initiative that includes material that can help young children with an incarcerated parent "find support, comfort and reduced levels of anxiety and sadness," according to the Sesame Workshop website.

The initiative provides parents and guardians with tips on how they can help talk to their children about incarceration. Past initiatives have included ways to help children deal with the loss of a parent, divorce and military deployment.

The program also features an online tool kit that includes videos where a Muppet named Alex struggles with his feelings about his father being incarcerated. The videos explain to children what incarceration means, how children can deal with emotions like anger and shame and how to talk about their feelings with an adult. Several videos can be seen below.

According to the Sesame Workshop, nearly 2.7 million children in the United States have a parent in state or federal prison. On Saturday, June 16, "Sesame Street" cast members visited Rikers Island, a correctional facility in New York City. The cast members performed for the inmates and their families. Video of their visit can be seen below.

Alex will not be a regular cast member on "Sesame Street," according to the "Today" show. Check out videos from the "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration" tool kit and the "Sesame Street" cast members' visit to Riker's Island below.

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