One in eight children under the age of 11 live with a parent who struggles with addiction.
The United States is facing a massive opioid epidemic, making it all more common for children to have a parent who is fighting an addiction of some sort. As one of those kids, I can tell you- it’s an isolating feeling having a parent who’s an active addict. There's no one to tell, none of the other kids seem to understand, and adults get uncomfortable at the mention- so you don't mention, and kids often handle their struggles silently.
To help combat the isolation that so many of these children feel, Sesame Street has once again introduced a monumental character (one that admittedly tore at my heartstrings far more than I thought possible)- Karli, the tiny green monster who's in foster care while her mom is recovering from her addiction.
Karli represents the 5.7 million children under the age of 11 in America who live with a parent struggling with addiction issues. Hearing her speak is a bit of an out-of-body experience for the unsuspecting grown-up kid- the sentences she says are phrases most children with addicted parents have uttered countless times. From the second Karli says that her mom is “At her meeting,” it’s easy to see that Sesame Street had people with real experience at the helm of Karli's creation.
Children in homes with addiction present have a higher chance for abuse, struggle more in school, and have a higher chance of developing addictive tendencies themselves, but Karli might be able to help these kids overcome some of their struggles simply by being on T.V. Though there is criticism that addiction is "too heavy for kids," Karli gives kids of addicts a chance to feel less alone when their parents are struggling.