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Florida HIPPY Program and Children's Services Council of Martin County Form Partnership to Bring School Readiness Program to Martin County

Children's Services Council of Martin County


The Children's Services Council of Martin County (CSCMC) and the Florida HIPPY Training & Technical Assistance Center at the University of South Florida are working together to bring a parent involvement and school readiness program to Martin County. For more than 30 years, the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program has partnered with parents to prepare their children for early school success using a home visiting model.

With a worldwide pandemic, childcare closings, and unemployment, several of Martin County's lowest resourced areas – already struggling with low school readiness rates – saw rates plummet to as low as 17% in more than one elementary school. To help increase young children's chances for success in school in Martin County, the CSCMC sought services that could reach families and provide them with books, curriculum, materials, support, and parent training.

“The Council’s decision to invest in HIPPY is based on proven research that predicts with concentrated school readiness intervention that Kindergarten Readiness rates will increase. We are hopeful that HIPPY will be the anchor to provide long-lasting stability for our youngsters to be ready-to-learn in Martin County.” Said David Heaton, Executive Director of the Children’s Services Council of Martin County.

In 2020, Early Childhood Research Quarterly published an article on Florida HIPPY that showed the HIPPY Intervention almost doubled the chances of children from low-income homes and low-resourced communities starting school ready-to-learn and being promoted to the first grade on time. HIPPY was even showing evidence that they closed school gaps and had effects into the 3rd grade.  

The Florida HIPPY Training & Technical Assistance Center at USF released a Request for Proposal to secure a local Provider to offer HIPPY in Martin County. The CSCMC program Helping People Succeed (HPS), which was already providing in-home health services to families in Martin County was selected. The Center at USF will support HPS through the startup phase, helping identify personnel, organizing materials, conducting on-site trainings, and spreading the word.   CSCMC has identified the area of need as Port Salerno and HPS is in the process of enrolling 60 families who will be served. If you know of a family who may benefit from this program, please contact Melissa Ramos – HPS HIPPY Program Coordinator at 772.320.0770. 

"There is a great deal of hope in Martin County," said Tracy Payne, Ph.D., Florida HIPPY State Director. "Schools, principals, the ELC, the CSC, and community partners are excited about this program and the many positive changes it will bring to children, parents and home visitors. Florida currently has 16 HIPPY programs serving 18 counties, and our hope is that state legislators will realize the value HIPPY can provide throughout the state."

About the HIPPY Program

The mission of HIPPY is to partner with parents to prepare their children ages 2-5 for success in school. Parents volunteer to participate and materials and curriculum are provided to parents at no cost to them. Peer-mentors – also called home visitors who are often from the very communities they serve – work with the program coordinator on a weekly basis to role-play the very educational activities that the home visitor will later role play with parents. Parents meet with the peer mentor for an hour each week where they role play the educational activities that the parent will then conduct with the child that week. Also, during that hour together, peer-mentor and parent discuss child development, social emotional learning, and other topics of interest. This method - from professional to home visitor to parent to child - happens every week for 30 weeks. One can see why the effects of this program last long into the child's school career and possibly beyond!