Information and Referral (I&R)


How to provide individuals contacting the department for services with information and referrals to community resources.


1. Information and Referral (I & R) is a service available to all persons who request it from the department regardless of how they make such a request.

2. Resources available to assist the client will vary depending on whether the client is currently receiving services from DSHS.

3. Any staff person can refer the client to a Social Worker for I & R assistance if the staff person cannot directly assist the client by providing either the requested information or referral.

4. Staff should make referrals in an efficient manner that connects the person directly with the resource and eliminates any unnecessary steps or time.

NOTE: Information about local community resources can be found on the web at the Access Washington Resource Directory.

Worker Responsibilities

  1. Discuss the person’s needs with them.
  2. Determine if there are resources within the department or community to meet the client’s needs and make an appropriate referral.
  3. If the person appears to be able to make their own appointment with the resource, give them the information they need to do so. If it appears the person needs help to connect with the resource, provide them with appropriate assistance.
  4. Document the information that you gave to the person (if appropriate) or referrals that were made on the person’s behalf. Make the documentation in the system associated with the program from which the person is receiving services. For example:
Program System
TANF / SFA, RCA, food assistance only ACES, eJAS
Non-Recipients Barcode

Mary reports family violence issues and requests information and services from the receptionist. The receptionist immediately refers the client to a Social Service Specialist who:

  1. Determines if Mary or her children are in immediate danger.
  2. Conducts an assessment and makes appropriate referrals including to the Family Violence Advocate in the local office.
  3. Based upon the outcome of the assessment either:
    1. Give Mary the information n to assist her with her needs (if it appears she can follow through with needed resources); or
    2. Complete a referral form including the name, address, phone number, directions etc. so that the client can get to the resources on her own.

Henry reports his family has no food. His family has applied for food assistance and has an expedited appointment in 3 days. staff may:

  1. Providing Henry with information about local food banks.
  2. Check the Access Washington Resource Directory for information about local food banks and give Henry the address and days and times the food bank is open.
  3. Provide local contacts (such as churches) to assist Henry with obtaining food.