Catholic Charities announces $350,000 in grants to support rural families with children in preschool
New Roads, Louisiana – At a press conference today, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge (CCDBR) announced an expansion of its early-childhood education programming in Pointe Coupee and St. Helena parishes thanks to grants from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation.
The program, called Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), is internationally recognized and proven to improve school readiness by using age specific curricula through home visiting and by increasing parental involvement in their children’s’ education. CCDBR Board Chair Gerri Hobdy thanked the BCBS Foundation’s President, Michael Tipton and the Wilson Foundation President and CEO David Beach at a ceremony earlier today.
“CCDBR has shown that this program is especially effective in serving high-needs families in rural areas where resources are scarce. Through this grant we believe we can support more parents as they prepare their children to be successful in school,” said Tipton.
Tipton added that the Foundation is “excited to fund a program that not only helps individual children but supports families by showing parents how to engage in their children’s learning beyond the preschool years.”
“HIPPY’s proven track record of getting children ready to start school inspired us to fund the program a third time,” said David Beach with the Wilson Foundation.
With a grant from Wilson Foundation and Capital Area United Way, CCDBR began offering HIPPY in Pointe Coupee parish in 2016 after the Pointe Coupee School Board lost its funding for the program.
“Now with funding from these Foundations, we can grow the program to prepare families to be more resilient and prepare more children to enter school ready to learn,” said Stephanie Sterling, CCDBR Maternity, Adoption & Behavioral Health Department Director.
In the program, home visitors deliver a 30-week curriculum of school readiness activities to the parents of children ages 2-5, who then review the lessons with their child daily. HIPPY hosts monthly meetings designed to further develop the child’s academic skills and family engagement. The expansion includes adding St. Helena to the service area and adding parents of children ages 0-1 using the Vroom program.
The outcomes of the program are clear. Last year, 100% of the HIPPY children tested at the end of the school year improved on their school readiness assessment scores. After completing the program, 94% of parents reported that they read more to children after HIPPY. The amount of time parents spent with their child each week increased by 67%.
Founded in 1964, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge (CCDBR) provides life-changing services for income constrained families, homeless pregnant women, disaster survivors, couples looking to build their family through adoption, young children, immigrants, and seniors. CCDBR is a member agency of Catholic Charities USA and Capital Area United Way.