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Giving the most vulnerable young Australians the best start in life

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Ministers' Media Centre Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio

Giving the most vulnerable young Australians the best start in life

On 5 August 2013 the government assumed a Caretaker role, with an election to be held 7 September 2013.

Media releases, transcripts and speeches for the DEEWR Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary can be accessed via the ALP website until after the election and the conclusion of the caretaker period.

Monday 7 May 2012 Joint Media Release

The Hon Peter Garrett MP [link:/garrett]

• Minister for School Education • Minister for Early Childhood and Youth

The Hon Kate Ellis MP [link:/ellis]

• Minister for Employment Participation • Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care

The Gillard Government will invest a further $55.7 million to ensure Australia’s most vulnerable children are better prepared to start school by expanding the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) to 100 communities across Australia.

The program provides parents and carers with the skills and confidence they need to take an active role in their children’s education, as well as access to a tutor and practical learning activities and materials to help children learn and develop.

HIPPY is directed at families with young children in disadvantaged communities in the year before the child begins formal school.

The funding in this year’s Budget will see the two year program expanded to around 50 additional sites, with a particular focus on Indigenous sites. The additional funding will also extend HIPPY in the 50 existing communities. This investment will benefit more than 3000 additional children.

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The expansion of HIPPY to around 50 additional sites will be targeted towards communities with a high proportion of Indigenous Australians facing disadvantage such as those in remote locations.

Minister for Early Childhood Peter Garrett said HIPPY is part of the Gillard Government’s commitment to ensuring every young Australian can receive a great education, regardless of the income of their parents, where they live or where they go to school.

“We know that socio-economic disadvantage can make it even harder for a child to successfully take that first very big step into school education,” he said.

“We also know that parents are the greatest influence in their child’s education.

“Some of the most disadvantaged kids in Australia are Indigenous kids. I am really excited that we are able to roll this program out to help these kids and their families build a better future for themselves and their communities.

“And I’m very pleased we are able to continue to support the existing 50 sites which have already had a real and positive impact on the lives of so many kids.

“By continuing to invest in HIPPY we are investing in a better education for young Australians,” Mr Garrett said.

Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care Kate Ellis said that HIPPY has a proven track record in transforming the lives of disadvantaged young children and their families.

“Last year I released an evaluation report on the Australian Government’s investment in HIPPY, which showed the program is having a transformative impact on the lives of children and parents,” Ms Ellis said.

“The program is likely to deliver an ultimate return on investment of up to $4 for every $1 spent because the early years of a child’s life can really shape their future.”

When compared with the Australian norm, parents involved in HIPPY were:

• 81 per cent more likely to report that their child’s maths ability was better than that of the child’s classmates • three times more likely to be in contact with their child’s school and actively involved in their child’s learning and development • 66 per cent less likely to have concerns about the way their child made speech

sounds, and • 85 per cent less likely to have concerns about their child’s ability to understand spoken words.

“Beyond the benefits for children, HIPPY has given many parents and carers increased confidence and new skills,” Ms Ellis said.

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“The benefits to the whole family from this program are remarkable, with 48 per cent of parents in paid employment after finishing HIPPY compared with only 33 per cent at the start of the program.”

Mr Garrett said the extra funding for HIPPY is part of the many reforms and investments the Gillard Government is making in improving education for every Australian child.

“Since coming to office this Government has almost doubled school funding to $65 billion, delivered new facilities and computers, invested in teacher quality and directed additional funds to target literacy and numeracy and disadvantaged school communities,” he said.

Ms Ellis said that the HIPPY program also supports the Gillard Government’s historic reforms and investments in early childhood education.

HIPPY uses structured materials and activities designed to be integrated into the daily life of the family. Home tutors schedule fortnightly visits to work through the program resources with the parent in the family's home.

Parents then work through the materials with their children each week. The materials include age-appropriate storybooks and activity packs for parents and children to use over a period of several years.

The Australian Government will continue to work with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to deliver the expanded program in communities across Australia.

For more information

Media Contact: [] Non-media queries: 1300 363 079

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