Inform USA (formerly the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems or AIRS) is the professional membership association for community Information and Referral (I&R) providers and Information and Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) providers, primarily in the United States and Canada. Inform USA provides leadership and support to its members and Affiliates to advance the capacity of a Standards-driven Information and Referral industry that brings people and services together. Inform USA drives quality and connection in the I&R sector as the sole source for standards, program accreditation, and practitioner certification.
The Support Center has partnered with Inform USA since 1990 on aging and disability I&R/A, including the early development of training tools for providers of aging I&R services, pre-conference intensives (currently included in the National Aging and Disability Symposium at the annual Inform USA Conference), development of the Certification for I&R Specialists in Aging (2001) and of the Certification for I&R Specialists in Aging/Disabilities (2015), Inform USA Board membership, and Committee membership.
Aging and Disability Symposium at the Inform USA Conference
For over twenty years, ADvancing States has convened the National Aging and Disability Information and Referral Symposium, in conjunction with the annual Inform USA Conference, to support the professional development of state and local I&R/A, ADRC, CIL and SHIP staff within the aging and disability network. The Symposium offers comprehensive, cutting edge learning opportunities to improve Information and Referral program development, services to consumers, and staff development.
The Symposium is enriched by our outstanding partners and supporters: Inform USA, USAging, the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL), and the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL).
Inform USA Standards and Quality Indicators for Professional Information and Referral establish reference points that define expected practices within the field and provide guidelines which communities or other jurisdictions can use when they develop an I&R program to meet the needs of their consumers. The Standards are the foundation for Inform USA Accreditation and provide an organizational context for certification of I&R specialists through the Inform USA Certification for Community Resource Specialist (CRS), Certification for Community Resource Specialist - Aging/Disabilities (CRS- A/D), and Certification for Community Resource Specialist - Database Curator (CRS - DC) programs.
Inform USA Certification is a professional credentialing program for individuals working within the I&R sector of human services. Certification is a measurement of documented knowledge in the field of I&R and I&R/A 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 responsibilities. The Inform USA Certification Program is operated in alignment with national standards for credentialing organizations. Certification is available for three specializations within I&R. Individuals who successfully pass the certification examination are awarded professional certification in the following:
- CRS - Certification for Community Resource Specialist
- CRS-A/D - Certification for Community Resource Specialist - Aging/Disabilities
- CRS-DC - Certification for Community Resource Specialist - Database Curator
For information on the Certification Program, including eligibility, click here.
Inform USA Accreditation is a professional accreditation process for agencies working within the Information & Referral sector of human services. Accreditation measures a program's compliance with expected practices within the field as defined by the Inform USA Standards and Quality Indicators for Professional Information and Referral. Organizations seeking accreditation complete a multi-phase process.
211 is a free, confidential referral and information service that connects people from all communities and of all ages to the essential health and human services they need. 211 information specialists connect individuals to local organizations that provide critical human services. There are more than 200 211 agencies across the United States and over 90 percent of the U.S. population is covered by a 211 service. The National 211 Steering Committee liaises between the two national leadership organizations (Inform USA and United Way Worldwide) and the field to help ensure strategic alignment, continuous system improvement, and the advancement of 211 services.
To find a local 211 service in the United States, visit www.211.org.