Sesame Street Helps Kids Understand Incarceration
Yesterday morning, CBS Sunday Morning featured a segment about a new initiative of Sesame Street to help kids cope with the reality of imprisoned parents.
Here is an introduction to the story:
At 24, Francis Adjei is now the head of his household, a role he never imagined having to play.
“One day, we’re all together having dinner; following day, she’s in jail. And we don’t know what to do,” he said.
Two years ago his mother, Jackie Pokuwaah, A Ghanaian immigrant, was convicted of grand larceny, and is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence at a state penitentiary.
Adjei had to drop out of school, and now spends his days managing his siblings’ schedules, trying to keep them in school.
His 7-year-old brother, Tyler, has to catch the school bus by 7:15. His 19-year-old sister, Francisca, who has epilepsy, helps where she can; and Francis spends an hour each way taking his 10-year-old sister, Breanna, on the subway to get her to school.
“My mother, the only person that takes care of all these things, she’s not around. So now, it all falls on me now,” Francis told Doane.
“When the police came and took your mom,” Doane asked Francis, “did anyone ever explain what it meant to be incarcerated?”
“To the children? No,” he replied. “We’ve never went down that direct path, just kind of been beating around the bush.”
“Why was it so difficult to explain, to talk about?”
“I don’t know, it was a very hard position to be in,” he replied. “I didn’t know what to tell them. I didn’t even know how to go about it.”
But soon Adjei and his brothers and sisters will find a little help on a familiar street: Sesame Street.