HIPPY program to be expanded and customised for First Nations communities
The Sector > Policy > HIPPY program to be expanded and customised for First Nations communities

HIPPY program to be expanded and customised for First Nations communities

by Freya Lucas

July 20, 2022

The Federal Government has committed $30 million per year over the next five years to the two-year Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) which supports parents and carers to be their child’s first teacher.


Under the new funding model the program will undergo reform, with a special focus on how to improve the service delivery experience for First Nations communities by exploring how HIPPY could be further delivered in language, Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said.


The focus of HIPPY would also be shifted to children aged three and four for better program outcomes, as the current program is geared towards children aged four and five years.


The Brotherhood of St Laurence delivers HIPPY in 100 communities across Australia through sub-contracting arrangements, including 50 First Nations focused communities, targeting around 4,000 children across all sites each year.


One in five people who access HIPPY are Indigenous, and the critical early intervention and prevention program builds the confidence and skills of parents and carers to create a positive learning environment in the home and helps families transition their child into school.


“We will also be working to ensure more First Nations organisations are involved in delivering HIPPY and look at delivering more services in language,” Ms Rishworth said. 


“This is in step with our goal to enhance the service delivery experience and relationship with government for First Nations people.”


In implementing the changes, she continued, the Australian Government would work closely with its New Zealand counterparts to learn more about their experience with adapting HIPPY for the Maori and Pacific Islander populations they service.


Ms Rishworth said evaluation will remain the key to measuring the program’s success, including how children fare in areas such as literacy and numeracy after participating in HIPPY.


It is also important for the government to enhance the service delivery experience with First Nations people, she added. 


Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said there are more than 250 Indigenous languages in Australia, including 800 dialects. Improving how governments deliver programs and services to First Nations people would be key to transforming outcomes and relationships.


“All children deserve the best possible start to their school years, and the expansion of the program will strengthen families and give them greater confidence,” she said. 


To find out more about the HIPPY program, please see here

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