Initiated in 1963, Information and Referral (I&R) Service began as a program component of the Health and Welfare Planning Council (HWPC). HWPC documented the need for this service through agency and community surveys. Survey findings supported the need to:
- develop a resource file of all human services in the three-county area, and
establish one location where individuals in need could be linked to the appropriate community resource to address the need(s).
- HWPC, the Health Foundation of United Health Services and the United Fund merge to create the United Way of Dayton. With this merger, the I&R component of HWPC became an operating unit of the Planning, Allocations and Research (PAR) Council.
- I&R calls are handled by two professional staff during the day. Six part-time staff handle night and weekend shifts from their home, using a call-forwarding capability on the I&R phone.
I&R is greatly expanded through a "purchase of service" Title XX contract with the Montgomery County Welfare Department. As a result of the contract, services to welfare clients increased significantly. During the fourth quarter of 1976, 1,556 persons identified themselves as welfare recipients. During the same period in 1977, 2,843 persons were welfare recipients. This represents an 83% increase.
The first full year under Title XX, I&R handles 25,284 requests for service, an increase of 56% over 1976, and a full 100% increase over 1975.
An agreement is reached between the Montgomery County Welfare Department and the United Way. The agreement stipulates that, over the next three years, Title XX funding for I&R Service would progressively decrease, and United Way would increase its support of I&R. This simplified I&R's funding, and demonstrated the United Way's commitment to a strong I&R Service.
- Transition to a computerized resource/service file is completed. This permits the maintenance of more detailed information regarding human service agencies and programs, more accurate referrals by I&R staff
- The Child Care Clearinghouse is "spun off" to become a part of Family Service Association.
The relay function for the hearing impaired is greatly expanded with funding from several local companies and cooperation with Dayton Power and Light Company. Renamed the Miami Valley Relay Service, the hours of operation are extended, part-time operators are hired, and call volume for this service soars.
- Memorandum of Understanding outlining the relationship between the I&R Executive Board and the United Way Board is signed.
- I&R name changed to "HelpLink"" to increase visibility and enhance identity.
- Job Center case managers have direct access from their computers to HelpLink computer database of community services.
- HelpLink telephone system is upgraded to provide better customer service.