Increase School Readiness Through Home Visiting (HIPPY)

The Need

Parents are their child’s first and most important teachers. Studies have demonstrated that high-quality home visiting to support both parents and children has led to decreases in child maltreatment, and the national Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) model has been shown to reduce parental stress and depression while increasing parental social connection. Children supported through HIPPY show increased school readiness, and HIPPY parents demonstrate increased involvement with their children, literacy activities in the home, knowledge of child development and confidence.

The Strategy

The purpose of this funding is to expand services provided by HIPPY and prioritize communities that have been historically underserved by health and education systems. Services must be voluntary, evidence-based, two-generation, home-based prevention programs for families with children from prenatal to six years of age. A trained home visitor must deliver services that support school readiness, social-emotional growth and age-appropriate child development.

As the state intermediary for HIPPY in Colorado, Parent Possible is expanding access to the program by supporting new and existing local service providers with training, technical assistance, fidelity and fiscal monitoring, data collection assistance, and program evaluation. As a result of this project, local service providers will increase organizational capacity to serve more families with young children in their area.

The HIPPY program is planning to serve an additional 230 children and families between 2023 and 2026. To accomplish this, they will expand existing sites and add new ones in previously unserved communities. It's important to note that HIPPY sites operate on a school year calendar and do not serve families outside of those dates.

Key Outcomes and Learnings


Goal 1: Actual number of new home visitors trained. In May 2023, two existing sites were identified for expansion, Jeffco Public Schools and Spring Institute. Three new staff have been hired between the two sites, including a bilingual home visitor (Spanish/English) at Jeffco Public Schools.

Goal 2: Actual families participating. Ten HIPPY sites provided a total of 753 children and their families with 15,858 home visits between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. From August 2023 to January 2024, the expansion has provided the opportunity to serve an additional 22 families and one of the new sites is already placing families on a waitlist.

Goal 3: Actual increase in parent practices that support school readiness. This goal is measured using the PICCOLO Assessment (Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes). The assessment is a positive, practical, versatile, culturally sensitive, valid and reliable tool used to assist practitioners observe a wide range of parenting behaviors that help children develop over time. CDEC will look at the results of this assessment for families in the new sites at the end of the project to gauge progress on this metric.


As the expansion project has unfolded, there have been a variety of lessons learned, particularly as regards to hiring and retaining home visitors. This has especially been the case with hiring bilingual staff. One specific challenge is low pay associated with the home visiting role, a known issue that is compounded when home visitors are serving families with low adult literacy rates in both English and their native language. Staff at Spring Institute report needing to translate program materials into the wide variety of languages spoken by families being served (Somali, Swahili, Oromo, Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Dari and Pashto), which increases home visitor responsibilities but not their pay.

A somewhat related challenge points to the reluctance that many immigrant and refugee families have in agreeing to participate in home visiting programs. Families often need to meet with a home visitor multiple times before officially enrolling, which adds to the length of time required to reach full caseloads. Building trust with families takes time, but is a crucial element in successful home visiting.

plum-colored gear graphic with the words family strengthening


Amount: $1,000,000 

Source: State and Local Federal Recovery Funds (SLFRF)

Expiration: December 31, 2026

Next Steps

Spring Institute is engaging with the Cultural Navigator at Boston Elementary School in Aurora to bring HIPPY to the Burmese families served by the school. Jeffco Public Schools and Spring Institute each plan to add capacity to address data entry/data tracking needs.

The first new community to begin offering the HIPPY program has been determined. It is the Teller Park Early Childhood Council. The new site’s service area will be Park County, including the communities of Pine Junction, Shawnee Alma, Jefferson, Lake George, Bailey. Como, Fairplay, Guffey, Grant and Hartsel. The site will begin operation in the fall, as HIPPY follows a school year calendar, and will initially serve 30 children during the first program year (2024-2025). The site will increase to serve 60 children in Year 2 (2025-2026).