Information referral specialist
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Information & Referral Specialist. Digital Divide September 19, 2012. What is information?.

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Information & Referral Specialist

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Information referral specialist

Information & Referral Specialist

Digital Divide

September 19, 2012

What is information

What is information?

Data that 1)has been verified to be accurate and timely, 2) is specific and organized for a purpose, 3) is presented within a context that gives meaning and relevance and 4) that can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty.



  • Noun

  • Referral-a person who has been referred to a specialist or a professional group

  • Referral-a recommendation to consult with a (professional) person or group to whom one has been referred.

  • Referral-the act of referring (i.e. forwarding an applicant for employment) or referring a matter to an appropriate agency.

What is information and referral definition from the alliance of information and referral systems

What is information and referral?Definition from the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems

  • Information and Referral ( I & R) is the practice of bringing people and services together. I & R is an integral component of the overall health and human services sector.

  • I & R organizations create and maintain databases of programs and services, and then disseminate that information through a variety of channels to individuals and communities. People in search of critical services such as financial assistance, food, shelter, child care, jobs, or mental health support often do not know where to begin. (Lay & professionals)—Iris database

  • Without I & R looking for help means scanning dozens of phone numbers and contacting a maze of agencies and services in the hope of making the right connection. With I & R, looking for help means a single phone call.

  • I & R resource databases contain detailed descriptions of the programs and services provided by community, social, health and government organizations. The information can be accessed easily. The programs are indexed by category/alphabet. The databases are maintained by trained I & R Specialists and published in directories and made available over the internet.

  • Most people receive I & R assistance via the telephone. The needs may span the spectrum of human experience from prenatal planning to financial assistance for a funeral and all life moments, both major and minor.

What is information and referral

What is information and referral?

  • People talk with trained, empathetic/knowledgeable I & RSpecialists who assess their needs in a non-judgmental, non-threatening and confidential manner, to help them understand their situations and make informed decisions about possible solutions.

  • The I & R Specialist can, when necessary, assist people who are in a crisis/emergency situations. I & R Specialists can also advocate on behalf of individuals who need additional support.

  • I & R agencies may be independent nonprofits, libraries, faith-based organizations or government agencies. I & R may be the main service of an agency or a separate program with a multi-service organization. Some I & R agencies are comprehensive in nature, providing information about all human services within a geographic area; while other I&R agencies are specialized, providing in-depth information about resources for specific populations groups such as older adults, children, victims of violence or people with mental health issues.

  • There are over 1200 Information and Referral agencies in the United States and Canada (28 states, Texas, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, N.Y. Vermont, Virginia, Florida, California, Louisiana)

  • Last year I & R Specialist answered more than 20 million calls for help. Family Service of Champaign County FCFH answered over 7,000 calls for information/help.

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