In January 2006, Information and Referral began a partnership with the Fairfield County Family, Adult and Children First Council to pursue a transition to a full-service, nationally accredited information and referral agency and 2-1-1 Call Center. The Board of Directors began to align the policies, procedures, and practices of the agency with the national Alliance for Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) standards of practice and to pursue AIRS accreditation and designation as a 2-1-1 Call Center. Fairfield County 2-1-1 achieved their AIRS Accreditation in September 2014. As a result of becoming accredited, agency improvements have included moving to a handicap accessible building, improved phone systems, upgraded technology that includes a better operating software with email, hiring of staff, staff training, and fund development.
Our agency currently uses ReferNet Software, an information and referral specific database. ReferNet is an accurate, up-to-date computerized database that contains information about available community resources including detailed data on services provided and the conditions under which these services are available. Additionally, I&R created a database of client information that enables staff and volunteers to track services and client information.
The purpose of 2-1-1 is to provide “front door” case management services to individuals and families in need of resources in Fairfield County. This allows the person in need to be connected with the appropriate agency and ensures agencies get eligible individuals for their services. We link individuals in need to food, housing, counseling, and other various resources in Fairfield County. Our agency is now able to maximize community resources and reduce duplication of services by working closely with our agency partners. Additionally, our agency operates the 24/7 mental health Crisis Line, offers representative payee services, and offers community outreach education.
Fairfield County 2-1-1 serves callers from all of Fairfield County, which, as of the 2017 Census data, has a population estimated at 154,733. 2-1-1 also responds to inquiries from individuals and agencies in surrounding counties who request information about Fairfield County services, as well as those seeking information about services in other counties and states.
In fiscal year 2020, our agency answered over 50,000 information and referral related calls. We issued 0ver 65,000 referrals to individuals for food, clothing, housing, mental health services, addiction and recovery services and more. Through our services, we assisted 8,413 unduplicated families and individuals meet their basic need. In addition to our information and referral calls, we answered 2,012 calls on the 24 Hour Crisis Line.