Lab of Research and Action on Family Education 


Why P.I.P.P.I.

As demonstrated by several researches, childhood is the most crucial stage in the development process of a human being. Over their lifetime, children meet people, see things, feel emotions and they need someone helping them understand/name all these new experiences. Family is where these experiences take place or are told, in order to learn from them and give them a meaning. Parents have the complex role to guide their children, listen to them and support them. So, it looks quite hard to be parents! Also, parents are not born, they are made! Parents could feel the need to be supported and helped and they could face hard moments. Even in these moments, it is important that parents find inner or outer (community services, friends and relatives) resources that allow them to take care of their children. 


P.I.P.P.I. what is it?

P.I.P.P.I. – Programma di Intervento Per la Prevenzione dell’Istituzionalizzazione (programme to prevent institutionalization) is designed as a research-action and its main goal is to prevent children from being separated from their families. In particular, the activities promoted in the frame of the experimentation are aimed at improving parenting skills, promoting full involvement in children’s school life and strengthening social networks (environmental and family-related factors). These actions are consistent with the national policies for the fight against poverty based on parenting support, which is provided in collaboration with social and health care services, schools, the third sector and families.

Through an eco-systemic approach, the purpose of P.I.P.P.I. is to experiment and assess a specific multidimensional programme to meet the needs of vulnerable families, starting from the family setting, the social network, the school attended by the children/adolescents, the environment in general, the needs and the intra-psychic dimension of each family member. In particular, the goal is to codify, test, evaluate an intensive approach - structured and flexible at the same time - for the families care process, able to decrease children’s risk of placement and/or facilitate family reunification.


What P.I.P.P.I. means

P.I.P.P.I. means Programme to Prevent Institutionalisation. Nowadays in Italy, according to the Law 149 and since 2001, institutionalisation is not a common practice anymore. Institutionalisation does not refer to children being placed in residential centres (not existing anymore); on the contrary, P.I.P.P.I. aims at preventing any kind of institutionalisation which can still be found in the everyday social services’ practices, for example excessive bureaucracy, delays, inefficiency and fragmented strategies, as well as lack of flexibility, information, reporting and transparency towards families.

P.I.P.P.I.’s goal is to ensure that children have the right to receive

- an in-depth assessment on their family context through the promotion of mutual listening and understanding between families and services;

- a joint action plan coordinated by all the actors involved, which can adequately respond to families’ needs and is feasible according to modalities and timing shared by families and professionals.

P.I.P.P.I. reminds us of Pippi Longstocking’s cheerfulness and strength, a child living on her own in a ruined house with an unconventional and bizarre family. Pippi Longstocking embodies at best P.I.P.P.I. programme, because it intends to highlight the resilience of children living in fragile families who experience difficulty in responding adequately to their children’s developmental needs. The acronym of P.I.P.P.I. invite professionals and families to “Promuovere Indipendenza Partecipando e Progettando Insieme” (Promote Independence Participating and Planning Together).


What P.I.P.P.I. is about

Shared planning: P.I.P.P.I. promotes the provision of comprehensive care strategies for families, by involving professionals, parents and children in the assessment and planning stages.

Home Care Treatment: P.I.P.P.I presents a Home Care Treatment based on children and parents participation. It consists in activities conducted primarily by a home carer with children and parents, supporting them in their everyday parenting.

Supporting Families: this measure consists in the identification of “supporting families”, in order to provide support to vulnerable families in their daily lives, both at a practical and at an emotional level. Supporting families could also mean helping vulnerable families integrate in their local communities. 

Parents and Children Group: P.I.P.P.I. promotes the organisation of parents groups. The participation in this group is intended to help parents reinforce their social fabric by sharing their experiences with other parents and to improve parenting skills, like learning how to adequately respond to children’s development needs.


What the family does

P.I.P.P.I. considers parents as key-actors in the education process of their children. For this reason every parent, together with professionals, takes part in the elaboration of decisions and strategies regarding themselves and their children. For parents, participating in P.I.P.P.I. means:

  • identifying, together with professionals, their children’s needs and the actions to be put in place in order to satisfy them;
  • participating in meetings and activities with professionals;
  • respecting the agreed commitments;
  • using specific tools to better understand family’s strengths/difficulties and to transform them.     

Who participates in P.I.P.P.I.?

The Multidisciplinary Team has an operational function, i.e. to guarantee quality, continuity and appropriateness in child and family care processes, in the implementation of the process and in the use of the existing instruments. The Multidisciplinary Team is thus in charge of the operational aspects and of coordinating the programme for its entire duration. As a rule, each Multidisciplinary Team is composed by: the professional in charge of the case, the psychologist, the social worker, the home educator, the family’s paediatrician and other community members (professionals or not), the supporting families, the children’s teachers and the family members, including the children themselves. The Multidisciplinary Team must be considered as a “variable geometry” group, formed by a hard core of professionals and by a number of figures and professionals who may join the group when needed and depending on the situation: teacher, paediatrician, supporting family, etc.