Monday, October 27, 2008

National Information and Referral Services Day. No. 543.

A resolution to designate (Date to be Determined) as National Information and Referral Services Day

Whereas, information and referral (I&R) services provide the active process of linking the consumer who has a need or problem with the most appropriate service that can address that need or solve that problem;

Whereas, quality information and referral services are the key point of entry to the entire human services delivery system;

Whereas, information and referral services have been recognized in federal legislation for 35-years since the 1973 reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and subsequently included the establishment of the National Eldercare locator and development of Aging and Disability Resource Center;

Whereas, the United States is currently served by information and referral through 2-1-1 programs, Aging I&R services, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, Child Care Resource and Referral services, military family centers and other specialty I&R services; and informed individuals are better equipped to make decisions, when they understand the variety of services available;

Whereas, In 1997, the National 2-1-1 Initiative was established with the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta creating the first 24 hour telephone information and referral service using the easy to remember 2-1-1 dialing code for access;

Whereas, in 2000, the Federal Communications Commission reserved the 2-1-1 dialing code for community information and referral services, intended as an easy-to-remember and universally-recognizable number that would enable a critical connection between individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies including during times of disaster;

Whereas, the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) has been providing professional standards and credentialing programs for those operating I&R services; and,

Whereas, expanding access to information about and referrals to services provides individuals with lower-cost and safer options for managing needs, and is likely to reduce confusion, frustration and inaccessibility to services;

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) Designate (TBD), National Information and Referral Services Day, to raise public awareness about the existence and importance of information and referral services for all Americans and to more effectively target these services to reach those most in need;

(2) Conduct activities in communities across the nation involving schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses and other entities to ensure that information and referral services are part of everyday life including emergency preparedness;

(3) Reaffirm the importance of clear and consistent professional standards to govern every aspect of quality information and referral services.

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