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CIRS-A Certification for Information and Referral Specialists. Examination Preparation Training Prepared by: Illinois Department on Aging. Certification is . . . A measurement of documented ability in the field of I&R …

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Cirs a certification for information and referral specialists

CIRS-ACertification for Information and Referral Specialists

Examination Preparation Training

Prepared by:

Illinois Department on Aging

Certification is
Certification is . . .

  • A measurement of documented ability in the field of I&R …

    reflecting specific competencies and related performance criteria, which describe the knowledge, skills, attitudes and work-related behaviors needed by I&R practitioners to successfully execute their duties

Preparing for airs cirs a overview of materials to study

Principles of the AIRS

Certification Program

History of Older Americans Act I&R

Tenants/Bill of Rights, Philosophy of Aging I&R

Professional Standards for Information and Referral

ABC’s of I&R (preferably 2006 edition or later)

CIRS-A Performance Based Competencies

Information and Referral Models to Remember (an AIRS Journal article available from AIRS web site at

Preparing for AIRS CIRS-AOverview of materials to study

For cirs a examination
For CIRS-A Examination:

  • I&R Systems/Services 10% of exam

  • I&R Process 40% of exam

  • Special Interventions 10% of exam

  • Special Populations 10% of exam

    Aging Specific

  • Information/Scenarios 30% of exam

    (all approximate)

The cirs a exam what to expect
The CIRS-A Exam - What to expect:

  • 100 multiple choice questions with 4 options for each answer

  • 75% correct to pass (varies slightly on each exam because of varying degrees of difficulty)

  • Pass/Fail– no grade, no score

  • Review questions

  • Interactive training-review

  • Easy as ANE, CCP and CCC tests

  • You know most of the materials already!!

Cris a materials and handouts

PPT Outline

AIRS Standards

ABCs of I&R sections

CIRS-A Competencies

NASUA online study outline – (for outline only, not for review of web sites)


Principles of Certification

History of Older Americans Act I&R

CRIS-A Materials and Handouts

What is airs
What is AIRS?

  • AIRS mission: “To provide leadership and support to its members and Affiliates to advance the capacity of a Standards-driven Information and Referral industry that brings people and services together."


I r and the aging network aoa nasua naaaa
I&R and the Aging Network – AoA, NASUA, NAAAA

  • Administration on Aging funds:

    • Eldercare Locator

    • National Aging Information and Referral Support Center

      • Annual Aging I&R Symposium-AIRS National Conference

      • National AIRS Board of Directors

      • Collaborated with AIRS to establish a specialized I&R Certification for the Aging Network

Principles of the airs certification program
Principles of the AIRS Certification Program

  • AIRS has prepared a four page handout summarizing certification for all candidates. Also the CIRS-A application, and study outlines are available at

History of older americans act information and referral cirs a
History of Older Americans Act Information and Referral (CIRS-A)

  • 1921 human service I&Rs

  • More important in 1960s & 1970s

  • Older Americans Act 1965

  • 1973 – OAA mandated I&R – through AAAs

  • 1990 – AoA launched its two-pronged

    National I&R Initiative:

    • Eldercare Locator

    • National I&R Support Center

Tenants (CIRS-A)

  • I&R Bill of Rights

  • Philosophy of Information and Referral

  • Main Functions of an Information and Referral Service

  • Services for Older Adults and/or their Caregivers

  • Services for the Community

Airs information referral bill of rights

Accurate and comprehensive information (CIRS-A)

Anonymous and/or confidential

Inquirer’s personal value system

Respect and sensitivity

Barrier-free access to information


Appropriate level of support in obtaining services

Empowered to the extent possible

Access most appropriate service in community

AIRS Information & Referral Bill of Rights

Philosophy of information referral

Understand inquirers situation (CIRS-A)

Immediate and appropriate information, crisis emergency

Empower not solve

Help prioritize needs

Help identify resources

Do not overwhelm

or provide too few options


Follow up

Philosophy of Information & Referral

Main functions of information and referral service
Main Functions of Information and Referral Service (CIRS-A)

  • Database

  • Easy access

  • Provide I&R for human services

  • Problem solving assistance/advocacy

  • Follow up

  • Gaps for community planners, funding

  • Develop cooperative relations (coordinated systems), integrated service delivery and education activities

Airs standards for professional information and referral version 5 2 revised may 2007
AIRS Standards For Professional Information And Referral (CIRS-A)Version 5.2 Revised May, 2007

  • We need to start with the Standards

  • To apply the relationship of the Standards to the skills and techniques of I&R Services

  • The Standards are the foundation of AIRS accreditation

  • And an excellent training tool!

The standards begin with
The Standards begin with: (CIRS-A)

  • Introduction

  • Information and Referral Bill of Rights

  • Philosophy of Information and Referral

  • Please highlight important contents of the Standards as these are reviewed

The standards are grouped in six categories
The Standards are grouped in six categories: (CIRS-A)

  • I. Service Delivery

  • II. Resource Database

  • III. Reports and Measures

  • IV. Cooperative Relationships

  • V. Organizational


  • VI. Disaster Preparedness

I service delivery
I. Service Delivery (CIRS-A)

  • Standard 1: Information Provision

  • Standard 2: Referral Process

  • Standard 3: Advocacy/


  • Standard 4: Crisis Intervention

  • Standard 5: Follow-up

Ii resource database
II. Resource Database (CIRS-A)

  • Standard 6: Inclusion/Exclusion


  • Standard 7: Data Elements

  • Standard 8: Classification System


  • Standard 9: Indexing the Resource



  • Standard 10: Database Maintenance

Iii reports and measures
III. Reports and Measures (CIRS-A)

  • Standard 11: Inquirer Data Collection

  • Standard 12: Data Analysis and


Iv cooperative relationships
IV. Cooperative Relationships (CIRS-A)

  • Standard 13: Cooperative Relationships within the Local I&R System

  • Standard 14: Cooperative Relationships within the Local Service Delivery System

  • Standard 15: Cooperative Relationships Among Local, State or Provincial, Regional, National, and International I&R Providers

  • Standard 16: Participation in State or Provincial, Regional, National, and International I&R Associations

V organizational requirements
V. Organizational Requirements (CIRS-A)

  • Standard 17: Governance

  • Standard 18: Personnel Administration

  • Standard 19: Staff Training

  • Standard 20: Promotion and Outreach

Vi disaster preparedness
VI. Disaster Preparedness (CIRS-A)

  • Standard 21: Emergency Operations and Business Contingency Plan

  • Standard 22: Pre- and Post-Disaster Database

  • Standard 24: Disaster-Related I&R Service Delivery

Vi disaster preparedness1
VI. Disaster Preparedness (CIRS-A)

  • Standard 25: Disaster-Related Inquirer Data Collection/Reports

  • Standard 26: Disaster-Related Technology Requirements

  • Standard 27: Disaster Training and Exercise

    (These are the newest Standards)

Wrap up i r professional standards
Wrap-up- (CIRS-A)I&R Professional Standards

  • The Standards are an excellent training tool

  • How do the Standards relate to each chapter of the ABC’?

  • How do the Standards relate to CIRS-A Competencies?

  • What do the Standards say as we review all of the training materials?

Abcs of i r methodology for the 21 sections
ABCs Of I&R (CIRS-A) –Methodology for the 21 sections

  • Learning concepts and objectives

  • Section components

  • Introductory exercises

  • What the AIRS Standards say

  • What you need to know

  • Sample Test Questions

The nature of information and referral
The Nature of Information (CIRS-A)and Referral

  • What is I&R?

  • What are the I&R Standards?

  • Roles of an I&R

  • Characteristics of an I&R

  • Information and Referral Bill of Rights

  • Principles of Information and Referral

Section 2 from greeting to closure the i r process
Section 2: From Greeting to Closure – The I&R Process (CIRS-A)

Overview of the 5 main stages of the I&R process

  • Contact

  • Assessment

  • Clarification

  • Information and Referral Giving

  • Closure

Section 3 empowerment and advocacy
Section 3: Empowerment and Advocacy (CIRS-A)

  • Empowerment

  • Advocacy

  • Individual advocacy

  • When to advocate

  • Examples of advocacy

  • System advocacy

Section 4 follow up
Section 4: Follow-up (CIRS-A)

  • Follow-up

  • Reasons for follow-up

  • Types of follow-up

  • Follow-up outcomes

  • Follow-up methods and processes

  • Outline for potential follow-up

Section 5 crisis intervention
Section 5: Crisis Intervention (CIRS-A)

  • Role of I&R in a crisis

  • Handling an immediate crisis

  • Types of crises

  • Defusing and handling a crisis situation

  • Elements of a suicide risk assessment

Section 6 confidentiality
Section 6: Confidentiality (CIRS-A)

  • Confidentiality in I&R

  • Explicit permission

  • Reporting of abuse

  • Confidentiality and endangerment

  • Relevance of information

Section 7 values self awareness and self determination
Section 7: Values, Self-Awareness and Self-Determination (CIRS-A)

  • Values and perceptions

  • Self-awareness

  • Self-determination

  • Withholding judgment

Section 8 responding effectively to challenging inquirers
Section 8: Responding Effectively to “Challenging” Inquirers

  • Challenging people

  • Techniques to defuse anger

  • Mental health calls and “constant callers”

  • Setting boundaries

  • Face-to-face interviews

Section 9 using the resource database for i r referrals
Section 9: Using the Resource Database for I&R Referrals Inquirers

  • Nature of a resource database

  • Structure of a resource database

  • Searching a resource database

  • Sharing information with inquirers

  • Additional considerations when working with resource databases

  • Other information resources

Section 10 special populations serving diverse communities
Section 10: Special Populations-Serving Diverse Communities Inquirers

  • The meaning of diversity

  • Diversity awareness

  • Serving people from diverse communities

Section 11 special populations serving people with addictions
Section 11: Special Populations- Serving People with Addictions

  • Characteristics of substance abuse

  • Alcoholism and drug addictions

  • Effects of addictions on families

  • Referral options for people with addictions

  • Methadone maintenance

  • Concurrent disorders, co-occurring disorders and dual diagnosis

  • Problem gambling/gambling addictions

Section 12 specials populations serving older adults
Section 12: Specials Populations-Serving Older Adults Addictions

  • Definitions of “older” and “elderly”

  • The aging process

  • Overcoming barriers to communications

  • Specific services for older adults

  • Elder abuse

Section 13 special populations serving young people
Section 13: Special Populations-Serving Young People Addictions

  • Serving young people

  • Youth issues

  • At-risk youth

  • Runaway youth

  • Emancipation

Section 14 special populations serving people with mental illness
Section 14: Special Populations-Serving People with Mental Illness

  • Nature and types of mental illnesses

  • Depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Schizophrenia

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Services available for people with mental illnesses

  • Communicating with people concerning mental illness

  • Consumer/survivors

Section 15 special populations serving military personnel and their families
Section 15: Special Populations-Serving Military Personnel and their Families

  • Needs of military personnel and their families

  • Deployment issues

  • Emotional cycle of separation

  • Basic structure of military family support services

Section 17 resource database overview
Section 17: Resource Database-Overview and their Families

  • Function and contents of an I&R resource database

  • Database users

  • Database products

  • Functions of a Resource Specialist

  • Skills of a Resource Specialist

Section 18 resource database inclusion and exclusion policy
Section 18: Resource Database-Inclusion and Exclusion Policy

  • Nature of inclusion and exclusion criteria

  • Advantages of having a formally documented inclusion/exclusion policy

  • Inclusion

  • Exclusion

  • The gray areas

  • Managing the inclusion/exclusion policy

Section 19 resource database data structure
Section 19: Resource Database-Data Structure Policy

  • Structure of a resource database

  • Organizations, sites and services/programs

  • Primary and secondary services

  • AIRS mandatory, recommended and optional data elements

  • Types of data elements

  • Advantages of a style guide.

Section 20 resource database classification systems and taxonomy
Section 20: Resource Database-Classification Systems and Taxonomy

  • Organizing and indexing resource databases

  • Indexing by organization name

  • Indexing by geographic area

  • Service indexing

  • Structure and strengths of the AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy

  • Basic principles of Taxonomy indexing

  • Customizing the Taxonomy

  • Keyword lists

Section 21 resource database database maintenance
Section 21: Resource Database-Database Maintenance Taxonomy

  • Data maintenance standards

  • Annual updating processes

  • Interim updating processes

  • Gathering information on a new agency

  • Managing the updating process

  • Database security

Summary of abcs introduction to the cirs a competencies
Summary of ABCs, TaxonomyIntroduction to the CIRS-A Competencies

  • The ABC’s incorporates the I&R Standards with skills, techniques procedures and provides the formal language and structure of I&R

  • The CIRS-A Competencies combines both the I&R Standards and the ABC’s with knowledge of services for older adults

  • The National I&R Support Center expanded the CIRS Competencies with an Aging Specialty

Cris a study guide
CRIS-A Study Guide Taxonomy

  • Tenents of I&R

  • Older Americans Act I&R

  • AIRS Mission

  • Philosophy of I&A

  • I&R Bill of Rights

  • Main Functions for I&R Services

  • Services for older adults and their caregivers

  • Services for the community

Cris a study guide1
CRIS-A Study Guide Taxonomy

  • A. General knowledge of I&A

  • B. Demonstrated I&R skills and


  • C. Attitudes and work related

    behaviors for the Aging


Online resource guide for developing aging competence for i r a specialists 17 chapters page 1 of 2
Online Resource Guide for Developing Aging Competence for I&R/A Specialists(17 Chapters) (page 1 of 2)

  • 1. Aging

  • 2. Aging Network

  • 3. Federal Laws & Programs

  • 4. Elder Rights & Resources

  • 5. Employment & Older Workers

  • 6. Family Caregiving & Kinship

  • 7. Health Care & Aging

  • 8. Health Promotion/ disease prevention

Nasua online resource guide continued page 2 of 2
NASUA – Online Resource Guide I&R/A Specialistscontinued (page 2 of 2)

  • 9. Home & Community Based


  • 10. Income Security/Retirement

  • 11. Long Term Care/Nursing Homes

  • 12. Mental Health & Aging

  • 13. Multicultural Aging

  • 14. Nutrition

  • 15. Older volunteers

  • 16. Senior Housing Options

  • 17. Transportation & Mobility

Information and assistance skills building
Information and Assistance I&R/A SpecialistsSkills Building

  • Two Basic Models

    • Basic advice on how to approach the referral


    • Basic principles for the crisis intervention

      model for I&R provision

    • And an overview of active listening

The Information & Referral Interview: Models to Remember Norman L. Maas

What goes into interviewing
What goes into interviewing? I&R/A Specialists

The counseling model for the referral interview

  • Understanding people

  • How we are all different

  • The importance of feelings

  • Feelings in times of upset and change

  • The mix of feelings

  • Learning to know yourself

  • The importance of each person

The importance of each person
The importance of each person I&R/A Specialists

Will come through with the. . .

  • Attentiveness with which you listen

  • Sensitivity with which you ask questions

  • Respect with which you treat confidence

  • Restraint you use in imposing your

    views on others

  • Care you take to avoid disappointments and ill-founded statement and promises

What takes place in an interview
What takes place in an interview? I&R/A Specialists

  • At the beginning– discomfort

  • Putting fears to rest

  • Information giving: a few general comments

  • Knowing enough about the person’s problem

  • A person’s right not to tell you everything

  • Knowing the resource file

What takes place in an interview1
What takes place in an interview? I&R/A Specialists

  • Letting people tell you in their own way: good listening pays off

  • Giving information that is useful and relevant to the person

  • Making sure people understand

  • When people get angry

  • Ending the interview

A counseling model for information and referral provision
A Counseling Model for I&R/A SpecialistsInformation and Referral Provision

  • Stage I: Define problem, develop relationship and trust

  • Stage II: Clarification of the problem

  • Stage III: Establish contact

  • Stage IV: Exploration of referrals

  • Stage V: Discuss referrals and alternatives

  • State VI: Terminating contact

(Based on Gerald Caplan’s work)

Basic helping skills

Confronting I&R/A Specialists





Reflecting feelings




Basic Helping Skills

The referral process
The referral process I&R/A Specialists

  • Resource Ring

  • 1. What has client tried so far?

  • 2. What else thought of doing?

  • 3. Assistance from family - friends?

  • 4. Happened before? How handled then?

Interaction between two people considering

involvement of a third party

The resource ring
The Resource Ring I&R/A Specialists

  • Frustration

  • Rejection

  • Guilt

  • Anxiety

  • Special fears

Feelings of the client

Basic principles in making a referral page 1 of 2
Basic principles in making a referral I&R/A Specialists(page 1 of 2)

  • 1. Let client describe problem-feelings

    Clarify, move slowly

  • 2. Gather information needed

  • 3. Decide upon referral, discuss with staff

  • 4. Avoid confusing client (1 or 2 referrals)

  • 5. Do not discuss another agency’s fees

Basic principles in making a referral page 2 of 2
Basic principles in making a referral I&R/A Specialists(page 2 of 2)

  • Encourage caller to take initiative

  • Have client write down information

  • Give caller realistic information-limits

  • Counseling referral

  • Client may refuse counseling referral

Six steps i r defined
Six steps I&R defined I&R/A Specialists

  • 1. Define problem, develop relationship,

    and trust

  • 2. Clarify the problem

  • 3. Establish contact

  • 4. Explore referrals

  • 5. Discuss referrals

  • 6. Terminate contact

From common ground crisis center 10 reasons for failures in communication
From I&R/A SpecialistsCommon Ground Crisis Center10 reasons for failures in communication

  • 1. Pre-judgment

  • 2. Jump to


  • 3. Assume

  • 4. Closed mind

  • 5. Lack of


  • 6. Wishful hearing

  • 7. Different

  • meanings

  • 8. Talk too much

  • 9. Lack empathy

    10. Fear

You are now ready
You are now ready I&R/A Specialists

  • Thanks for your hard work

  • We know you will do well on the

    CIRS-A exam

  • Please complete the training evaluation

Good i a is performed by people who
Good I&A is performed by people who: I&R/A Specialists

  • 1. View the client with respect and dignity

  • 2. Believe in self help

  • 3. Work from good referral models

  • 4. Take the time to find out what the client

    really is trying to resolve and help them

    explore ways to resolve or address their real


    (Refer to page 53)

Active listening
Active Listening I&R/A Specialists

  • Four cornerstones

    • Listening to feelings

    • Giving feedback

    • Being non-judgmental

    • Developing empathy

Incorporate 8 specific active listening skills

Emotional labeling I&R/A Specialists



Effective pause

Open-ended questions

“I” message

Consensual Validation

Incorporate 8 specific Active Listening Skills

Patience and other noble qualities
Patience and other noble qualities I&R/A Specialists

Some helpful phrases Pages 50 - 53

  • Some good open-ended questions

  • “I” message from-- “I” feel (emotion) when you

  • (behave) because (reason)

  • Values Clarification (clarifying responses)

  • Good termination statements

    • For “normal” callers

    • For “manipulative” callers

    • For “abusive or angry” callers

Ten basic rules for good i a listening page 53
Ten Basic Rules for I&R/A SpecialistsGood I&A Listening (Page 53)

  • Don’t be judgmental

  • Don’t give personal information to callers

  • Don’t talk about I&A calls or callers outside

  • of I&A

  • Don’t accept responsibility for a caller’s

  • Action

  • Don’t do anything for callers that they can

  • do for themselves

Ten basic rules for good i a listening continued page 53
Ten Basic Rules for Good I&A Listening continued I&R/A Specialists(Page 53)

  • Don’t hesitate to set firm limits on callers when it is needed

  • Don’t leave the I&A room upset by a call or a caller - talk it out with designated staff

  • Do terminate immediately when it is called for

  • DO NOT use active listening skill on every call

  • Do use the staff as your support system

10 most often overlooked benefits make sure callers know about all services

Medicaid I&R/A Specialists

Food Stamps

Pharmacy Assistance

Property Tax Relief

Veterans Benefits

Health Insurance Counseling

State Veterans Benefits


Nutrition Services


10 Most Often Overlooked BenefitsMake sure callers know about all services

Thanks for participating
Thanks for participating I&R/A Specialists

  • All the materials needed for the CIRS-A exam have been reviewed and you are now ready for the CIRS-A certification exam.

  • Thanks for the hard work.