Children and Parenting

Children and Parenting funds early intervention and prevention services and resources to improve children’s development and wellbeing, and support parents and carers in raising children. Services focus on children aged 0–12 years, but may include children up to 18 years.

Services aim to be accessible to everyone through strategies such as cultural awareness and diversity, and flexible opening hours and service locations. They work closely with clients to find solutions that suit their individual needs.

Children and Parenting comprises of:

Intensive Family Support Services

Intensive Family Support Services focus on reducing child neglect, and increasing the capacity of families to support their children to be safe, nurtured and thriving.

These services provide the most vulnerable families in identified communities in the Northern Territory and South Australia with practical parenting education and support for up to 12 months, to help them improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their children.

Who benefits from the Intensive Family Support Services?

The Intensive Family Support Service is available to families with children aged 0-12 years of age (but can include children up to 18 years).

How are the Intensive Family Support Services delivered?

Organisations provide intensive support to parents and caregivers where child neglect is a concern. Intensive Family Support Services are delivered in 22 locations in the Northern Territory and 4 locations in South Australia.

Services can include referral to other services, parenting and life skills training and education, home and community visits and group workshops and activities promoting strong family interactions and community relationships.

Increasing parents and caregivers’ capacity will enable them to focus on the child’s health, education, nutritional and safety needs.

Related Information

Children and Parenting Support

Children and Parenting Support services provide early intervention and prevention support to children and their families. Services seek to identify issues such as risk of neglect or abuse, within families, and provide interventions or appropriate referral(s) before these issues escalate.

Early intervention and prevention strategies aim to influence children’s and families’ behaviours to reduce the risks of an emerging issue. A key component of early intervention and prevention is to increase protective factors to enable children and families to be resilient when issues arise.

There are over 140 community and charitable organisations funded to deliver the Children and Parenting Support activity around Australia.

Who will benefit from Children and Parenting Support services?

By increasing the capacity of parents, carers, and grandparent carers, Children and Parenting Support services help improve children’s wellbeing and development by providing a range of services including supported playgroups and school readiness programs. They also build the capacity of parents and carers through services such as parenting skills courses and peer support groups.

How are Children and Parenting Support services delivered?

Children and Parenting Support services are delivered in 139 service areas in around Australia and will continue until 30 June 2020. A further 70 services are funded over three years (to 30 June 2018).

Five national services have been funded to 30 June 2020 to deliver services such as community playgroups, peer support groups for carers, and web-based information and services. Another eight specialised services for families and children experiencing the impacts of alcohol and other drug misuse are in every state and territory to 30 June 2018. These services use a prevention and early intervention family support approach to dealing with the impacts of substance misuse problems, through integrated, long-term and intensive support.

To find a service near you, go to the list of Children and Parenting Support and Intensive Family Support service providers.

Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is a two-year home-based parenting and early childhood program that helps parents and carers to be their child’s first teacher.

HIPPY builds the skills of parents and carers to help prepare their child for school.

The program also offers some parents and carers a path to work and local community leadership.

Who will benefit from HIPPY services?

By giving parents the tools they need to give their children some early literacy and numeracy skills, HIPPY gives children a better start at school.

How is the HIPPY service delivered?

Parents and their children enrol in the program in the year before their child starts school. The program activities are designed to be integrated into the daily life of the family. The first year of the program focuses on pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills. The second year extends these activities, and provides parents with additional information about children's learning and development.

Each program location is staffed by a qualified coordinator and a team of home tutors, who are usually past or current parents participating in the program who live in the community.

HIPPY Program Guidelines (2015–2018) outline the arrangements for the implementation and ongoing delivery of HIPPY in 100 communities across Australia.

How is HIPPY funded?

Since 2009, the Australian Government has invested more than $100 million to deliver HIPPY in disadvantaged communities across Australia.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (through HIPPY Australia) delivers HIPPY on behalf of the Australian Government.

Where is HIPPY located?

Since 2017 HIPPY has been delivered in 100 communities across Australia targeting around 4,000 children each year. Fifty of these locations focus on Indigenous communities.

Want to know more?

For more information go to the HIPPY Australia website.

HIPPY evaluation

In 2017, ACIL Allen Consulting was engaged by the Department of Social Services to evaluate the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY). The evaluation used a mixed-methods approach including a review of national and international literature, analysis of HIPPY administrative data provided by Brotherhood of St Laurence and consultations with stakeholders in 20 HIPPY sites. The HIPPY evaluation report was finalised in March 2018.

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