What is Information & Referral?

What is Information and Referral?


Information & Referral (I&R) is the art, science and practice of bringing people and services together. I&R resource databases contain detailed descriptions of the programs and services provided by community, social, health and government organizations.

Callers to Vermont 2-1-1 will speak with

“trained, empathetic I&R Specialists who assess their needs in a non-threatening, non-judgmental and confidential manner and help them understand their situations and make informed decisions about possible solutions. The I&R Specialist can, when necessary, assist people who are in crisis and emergency situations. I&R Specialists can also advocate on behalf of individuals who need additional support.”

From AIRS – Alliance of Information and Referral Systems

At Vermont 2-1-1, we can provide callers with much more than a phone number or the service hours of an agency. Our call specialists follow an I&R process that includes:


  • Establishing rapport
  • Gathering information through active listening
  • Determining the caller’s previous efforts
  • Problem solving in partnership with the caller
  • Matching resources with needs
  • Identifying potential barriers
  • Making appropriate referrals to services
  • Offering follow-up if necessary

Additional information