Accessing Health and Human Services
CALIFORNIA UTILITIES EMERGENCY ASSOCIATION
Annual Meeting – June 12, 2007
Queen Mary - Long Beach, CA
by Maribel Marin, CAIRS President
Current FCC “N11”
111 - Not Applicable 211 - Information & 311 - Local
Referral Government Services
411 - Directory 511 - Transportation 611 - Telephone
711 - Telephone Relay 811 – Utility Line 911 - Emergency
„Call before you Dig‟ Police/Fire
A free, accessible, 3 digit
telephone number that gives
everyone access to the vital
community services that they
2-1-1 is a National Movement
2-1-1 serves approximately 196 million Americans – over 65% of the U.S. population; 212 active 2-
1-1 systems covering all or part of 41 states (including 19 states with 100% coverage) plus
Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. Canada has an additional 5 locations (for more information
about Canada go to http://www.211canada.ca/).
1997 - first 2-1-1 in Atlanta Georgia
1998 - discussions began in California
2000 - FCC assigns 2-1-1 for Health and Social Services
2001 - 2003 CA stakeholder meetings and Steering Committee
2003 - CPUC adopts CA standards for 2-1-1 implementation
2004 CAIRS and UWCA create 2-1-1 California Partnership
February 2005 Ventura County launches 2-1-1
July 2005 2-1-1 goes live in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San
Diego, Santa Barbara counties – reaching over 18 million people
2007 – 18 counties and over 80% of CA with 2-1-1 service
“We find that the Information and Referral
Petitioners have demonstrated sufficient
public benefits to justify use of a scarce
public resource and therefore assign 2-1-1
to be used for access to community
information and referral services.” (2000)
“The use of the 2-1-1 dialing code has the
potential to provide Californians with easy
access to information concerning child care
services, housing assistance, physical and
mental health resources, aging and hospice
services, educational and other programs.
Such information is not currently available
through the 9-1-1 emergency code or the 3-1-1
police non-emergency code.” (2003)
CPUC 2-1-1 Requirements
Service must be accessible to all callers
A live person must answer the phones 24 hours, 7 days a week
Provide TTY/TDD access via the 2-1-1 dialing code
No charge to the caller beyond local or measured rate service
No charge for referrals
Meet all Alliance of Information and Referral System (AIRS) standards
Provide service in all languages via bilingual and multilingual staff or
interpretation/ translation services
Service delivery – accurate, confidential provision of comprehensive
information through referrals, advocacy, and follow up
Resource files – must use AIRS taxonomy, use written inclusion/exclusion
criteria, and update the database at least annually
Disaster – 2-1-1 services must be available during disasters
Reports and measures – must collect and report referrals made/service gaps
Cooperative relationships with I&Rs, providing seamless access to 2-1-1
Professional credentials are awarded to individuals who successfully complete
the appropriate AIRS Certification Program for I&R practitioners. Certification is
a measurement of demonstrated and 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.
Accreditation is granted to agencies demonstrating that they have reached the
highest level of operation according to the professional standards (e.g. measuring
organizational structure, personnel administration, training/orientation, service
delivery, program evaluation).
Accreditation requires an agency to meet the AIRS Standards for Professional
Information and Referral through a comprehensive three phase process:
1) Application and Consultation
2) Onsite Review
2-1-1 Information & Referral
1. Comprehensive Database: current,
accurate information about services organized in a
way that is easily retrieved and useful
2. Trained information and referral
specialists: Qualified staff able to assess
callers‟ needs and help them identify underlying life
conditions that may be affecting those needs
3. Quality Referrals: Connections to appropriate
public, non-profit and private providers for services
the caller needs
Health and Social Services
2-1-1 provides information and referrals for every day needs and in
times of crisis. 2-1-1 can offer access to the following types of services:
Basic Human Needs Resource: food, shelters, rent & utility assistance.
Physical and Mental Health Resources: health insurance, Medicaid and
Medicare, counseling, crisis, drug and alcohol intervention and rehabilitation.
Employment Supports: financial assistance, job training, transportation
assistance, education programs.
Support for Older Americans and Persons with Disabilities: adult day
care, Meals on Wheels, transportation, respite & home health care.
Support for Children, Youth and Families: childcare, after school
programs, Head Start, recreation programs, tutoring, protective services.
Volunteer Opportunities and Donations.
2-1-1 Makes Access Simple
I can‟t pay My child is I need to find I want to
I need food childcare volunteer
my rent on drugs
2-1-1, how may Yes, I can
I help you?
2-1-1 connect you with
Rehabilitation Child Care
Rental Food Bank
Center Volunteer Resource
Center And Referral
Anatomy of a 2-1-1 call
Dials 2-1-1 barriers
Local phone Establishes need(s)
company routes 2-1-1 through in-depth
to 2-1-1 call Caller in need Call assessment
Searches database for
2-1-1 Call Specialist empowers caller by providing accurate, enabling
information and appropriate referral(s) to agencies able to help with the
2-1-1 Saves Public Dollars
With 2-1-1 there is no need to develop new telephone
numbers for new public programs and initiatives.
Because it is adaptive in the short-term, 2-1-1 can
expedite timely information for:
Events like toys for Tots, Holiday Food Baskets,
and Neighborhood Clean-Up Days
Special initiatives such as flu shots, Summer
Lunch Program, and Earned Income Tax Credits
Programs like Child Health Insurance Program
(CHIP), child care, mental health, housing
assistance and immunization clinics
2-1-1 Yields Broader Benefits
Direct Service Programs and Providers: Have an outlet for providing
information about changes in programs/eligibility and service availability.
Service Agencies and Professionals: No longer pressured to search for
information outside their service scope or to help clients who belong
Specialized I&R‟s: Know calls requiring their expertise will get referred to them.
Disaster Officials: Have a dissemination mechanism for critical up-to-the-
minute public information.
Law Enforcement: No longer gets non-emergency calls.
Public Officials: Have a place to refer constituents in need of help.
2-1-1 California is a partnership dedicated to creating
and sustaining a statewide 2-1-1 network by 2010.
The Partnership is an unincorporated collaboration among the California
Alliance of Information & Referral Services (CAIRS), United Ways of
California (UWCA), and Volunteer Centers of California, working with the
Governor’s Offices on Services and Volunteerism, and Emergency Services
The Partnership provides statewide planning, capacity building, and quality
assurance; it builds relationships with state and federal governments and
other potential financial partners.
The mission of 2-1-1 California is to create and sustain a statewide
network that brings together high-quality local and regional 2-1-1 call centers
and provides benefits beyond what is possible independently.
2-1-1 So. California Collaborative
Mission: To provide a forum for 211 providers in So. California to exchange
ideas, assistance, and experience with 211 operations; to establish policies
and identify strategies; to initiate joint agreements for technical development,
vendor negotiation, operating support, and disaster response.
Members: 211 Orange County 211 San Diego County
211 Los Angeles County 211 Ventura County
211 Riverside County 211 Santa Barbara
Hotline of San Luis Obispo Helpline Kern County
Inland Empire United Way San Bernardino
Mutual Aid Agreements:
The Collaborative members have Memorandums of Understanding to allow
for reliable and rapid provision of mutual aid between two or more
organizations in the time of an emergency impacting local 211 service.
Agreements state that the partner agency will send trained staff to the
requesting agency within 72 hours of the request.
2-1-1, 3-1-1, and 9-1-1
The 9-1-1 emergency services network was created
over 20 years ago as a fast and efficient way to
access emergency services.
The 3-1-1 system was developed for callers who
have non-emergency police questions, problems or
other government business.
2-1-1 was created to provide public access to
information about and referral to health and human
services. 2-1-1 service complements both 9-1-1 and
Where to Call
“Help! My house is on fire!”
For Police, Fire, Medical emergencies, call 9-1-1
“My car was broken into.” “There’s a pothole on my
For non-emergency calls to public agencies, call 3-1-1
I need activities for my aging parent.” “I can’t pay my
utility bill.” “I need health insurance.”
For non-emergency calls for human services, call 2-1-1
2-1-1 Reduces 9-1-1 Calls
2-1-1 can significantly reduce calls to 911 during times of
In Monroe LA after Hurricane Katrina 211 received 4,000
to 6,000 calls daily.
A 911 telecommunicator who volunteered at 2-1-1 after Katrina
learned that 2-1-1 can address questions that are not related to
emergency services, including questions about hurricane relief.
“2-1-1 was very effective for us in this situation… In the long run
I can see where 2-1-1 will save 911 telecommunicators a lot of
Yolanda Muhammad Smith County 911
Communications District, Tyler, Texas
2-1-1 Assists in
Disaster Response and Recovery
Central non-emergency number for the public to call
during and after disasters
Up-to-date information for the public
Communication link among community-based
organizations (CBOs) responding to disasters
Liaison between CBOs and public agencies charged
with disaster response and recovery
“We estimated that 2-1-1 got 60,000 calls that normally
would have gone to 9-1-1, freeing those operators to
handle emergency calls.” Lee County (Jacksonville, FL)
9-1-1 Coordinator after 2004 Florida hurricane season.
2-1-1 Disaster & Emergency Information
Florida 2004 Case Study
and Sept. 20
- a 300%
2-1-1‟s Role after 9/11
2-1-1 is an easy way for people to get essential
information following a natural disaster or terrorist
In Connecticut, where 2-1-1 is implemented
statewide, 95% of calls for non-emergency
information such as mental health counseling,
volunteering, and donations went to 2-1-1.
In New York City, with no 2-1-1 service, over 400
hot line numbers were activated leading to
confusion and frustration.
California’s individuals, communities, and governments must be prepared
for natural disasters including wild fires, mud slides, floods, earthquakes and
tsunamis. In addition, preparedness for terrorist attacks is a high priority.
A statewide 2-1-1 network can be a powerful part of the state‟s crisis
preparedness and response
2-1-1 is a critical information system, necessary prior to, during and after a
Prior to a community crisis, it is critical that an information system be in
place that can respond at a moment's notice
2-1-1 is available immediately during times of crisis, to direct callers for
services most appropriate for their needs
2-1-1 maintains an ongoing 24/7 presence in the community; as a result,
people can find the help they need whether their needs arise a week or
several years after the crisis event.
CA 2-1-1/I&R Response to Disasters
La Prieta Earthquake: Alameda – Eden I&R October 1989
LA Civil Disturbance: Los Angeles – Infoline of LA April 1992
Northridge Earthquake: Northridge – Infoline of LA January 1994
Wildfires: Southern California – Ventura, San Bernardino, San Diego and
Los Angeles I&R’s October 2002
South Central Storm: Los Angeles – Infoline of LA November 2003
Winter Freeze Ventura County – 211 Ventura January – February 2007
Northridge Earthquake 1994
Disaster Application Center
San Diego 2003 South Central Storm 1993
Los Angeles Civil
2-1-1 Is Key Response Partner
After a disaster such as a bioterrorist attack, Californians need a
wide range of information. 2-1-1 can be a vital part of our
outreach efforts to serve those who are affected by an attack,
as well as the “worried well.” A network of 2-1-1 providers
could offer the call capacity and reliability we need to provide
initial screening for treatment or services, and provide information
to those who have not been directly affected but need comfort or
reassurance. On an ongoing basis, a statewide 2-1-1 network
can help us share information such as tip numbers with people
Gary Winuk, Chief Deputy Director,
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security
Local 2-1-1 relationships with 9-1-1 and
other Emergency Services
San Diego County:
MOU with Office of Emergency Services
Working relationship with 9-1-1
Have open working relationship with 9-1-1
Work with 9-1-1 and OES in Voluntary Organizations
Active in Disaster (VOAD)
Santa Barbara County
Works with 9-1-1 as a part of a Disaster Emergency
Collaborate and work with OES for emergency planning
Los Angeles County
Contracts with County Office of Emergency Services to
provide disaster/emergency response information and
referral services on- and off-site when necessary.
You and Your 2-1-1 Center
Establish a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding with your
local 2-1-1 provider.
Participate on your local 2-1-1 Disaster Committees.
Write 2-1-1 into your local Emergency Management plan.
Work together sharing database resources.
Include 2-1-1 leaders in disaster exercises.
Rely on 2-1-1 to help with donation and volunteer management,
rumor control, referrals, recovery efforts, etc.
211 LA County Call Center
60 Seat Call Center
Automatic Call Distribution
IVR – Auto Attendant
Maribel Marin, 211 LA County
Telephone: (626) 350-1841
Statewide 2-1-1: www.CAIRS.org
National 2-1-1: www.211.org