13 July 2022

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) warmly welcomes today’s announcement from the federal government to extend for another five years our successful and evidence-based early learning program - the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY).

Delivered around Australia to 100 communities, HIPPY is an early home learning education program that helps families experiencing disadvantage to support their children to succeed before starting school. The program is aimed at reducing the impacts that disadvantage can have on children’s life outcomes through enhancing their learning opportunities in the home.

HIPPY has demonstrated marked improvements in young children’s preparation for school, as well as building parents’ confidence and engagement with their children’s learning, and fostering connections across the early childhood system.

The much celebrated and evidence-based program has been managed by BSL for the last 24 years, and provides parents with the tools, knowledge and confidence to foster their children’s learning at home. HIPPY also provides parents the opportunity for employment as tutors in the program.

Today the Hon. Amanda Rishworth, Minister for Social Services, visited one of our HIPPY sites in Frankston, to announce the funding extension.

BSL’s Executive Director, Travers McLeod said: “We welcome today’s announcement from Minister Rishworth that the federal government will continue to invest in this critical early learning program in what looks set to be a transformational reform period for the early years. We are grateful for the ongoing support we have received from both sides of politics.

We look forward to focusing on three and four year-olds to allow for earlier support, building greater connections with the early childhood development system, and strengthening our partnerships with First Nations communities. With 98% of the employed tutors women and 40% from First Nations communities, this program is also playing a role in the post-COVID economic revitalisation of communities.”

Last year, the then Minister for Families and Social Services, Minister Ruston, launched two research reports into HIPPY, one of these is a longitudinal study. The reports endorsed HIPPY as a highly effective program, providing real and tangible outcomes in communities.

“These studies, the largest conducted on HIPPY, found that at commencement of the program most children were well behind their peers, but upon completion of HIPPY, exceeded the Australian average in literacy and numeracy skills. The studies proved what we, the Federal Government, and others involved have known for years - that HIPPY works. This early childhood learning program is critical in reducing the impacts of disadvantage on children’s life outcomes,” said BSL’s Executive Director, Travers McLeod.

Media enquiries: Bridie Riordan 0491 159 256

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence is a social justice organisation working to prevent and alleviate poverty across Australia.