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What is Information & 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. (Inform USA, formerly Alliance of Information & Referral Systems)

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At Vermont 211, we can provide clients with much more than a phone number or the service hours of an agency. Our Community Resource Specialists follow an information and referral 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 appropriate


“[T]rained, empathetic Community Resource 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 Inform USA (formerly AIRS - Alliance of Information and Referral Systems)