“When a parent is deployed, the entire family is deployed, a situation that requires equal parts courage and sacrifice.”
—Cuba Gooding, Jr.
When Parents Are Deployed is a television special produced by Sesame Workshop that focuses on the educational and emotional needs of children with parents and caregivers deployed by the military.
The special premiered on December 27, 2006, at 9:00 pm on most PBS stations. However, airtimes varied, with some stations choosing to air the program at other times and others showing it two or even three times throughout the night. It re-aired on PBS in April 2009.
The special, hosted by Cuba Gooding, Jr., is targeted at educating adults about the issues and effects of parental deployment on children, rather than targeting the affected children and their parents (which has been addressed in the special Talk, Listen, Connect support material). Apart from the new framing footage with Gooding, the special contains the Muppet scenes from the Talk, Listen, Connect video, featuring Elmo and his Dad. The special also included interview with affected families, and specialists.
This special presents three stages of deployment, which are as follows:
- Stage One: Preparing for Deployment
- Stage Two: Staying Connected
- Stage Three: Homecoming
The Spanish dub of the special, Cuando el servicio llama: Vivencias de familias militares was created in 2007, with Gaby Rivero as host. The special aired on public television station V-me over the Memorial Day weekend: May 26, May 27 and May 28.
The speicals was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 2007 for "Outstanding Children's Program".
- Location cast at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey
- The Keefer, Kelly, Roth, White, Chaudhary, Elson, Finklea, Hall, and Peeler families
- Location cast at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- The Harris-Tomlin, Kite, Lopez, Mace, and Rogers families
- Sesame Workshop VP of Outreach and Educational Practices: Jeanette Betancourt, Ed.D.
- VP, Producer: Christina Delfico
- Original Songs and Scoring: Mark Radice
- Celebrity Casting by Bella Harkins
- Special Thanks to the team at the McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey
- Eric L. Saks, 1Lt. USAF
- Rachel M. Martinez, SRA, USAF
- Alice Rose
- Special Thanks to the Morale, Welfare & Recreation Staff at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- Karen L. Miller
- Sandra McMillan
- Gloria Tapp
- Victoria Russell
- Jeralene Gerald
- Geraldine Maynard
- Kava Carrier
- Patricia McCormick
- Sarah M. Rivette, "Muppets help kids of Drum soldiers", Watertown Daily Times, October 30, 2008.
- "V-me Airs Sesame Street Special in Spanish Examining Family Challenges When Parents are Deployed", Digital50, May 17, 2007.