Just as you dial 9-1-1 for emergencies, soon you will be able to call “2-1-1” in Kane County and be connected to a live specialist, any time of the day or night, to assist you with your human service and resource needs.
According to a news release by Batavia United Way and a report by the Kane County Regional Office of Education at Tuesday’s (Aug. 14, 2018) Kane County Board meeting, a variety of stakeholders have come together to create and finance a free, centralized resource for people who need help.
Kane County Regional Superintendent of Schools Patricia Dal Santo said the new 2-1-1 will help families connect with social-emotional resources such as food pantries, counseling and medical services.
“The 2-1-1 system will be able to refer you to an agency that will be able to help you,” she said.
Kane County school districts are supporting the 2-1-1 efforts. Dr. Lisa Hichens, superintendent of Batavia School District 101, said school personnel hear about the need for support services every day, but there is no central clearinghouse to help their students and families find the services that are available.
“We just know that there are people in crisis for whatever reason,” she said. “Many don’t know what next step to take because they’ve never experienced that crisis before. We don’t want to send people on a random Google search. We need a service that can supply the most reliable and up-to-date information.”
The Batavia United Way says there are more than 1,000 government, non-profit, and faith-based organizations providing much-needed services throughout Kane County.
“It can be overwhelming and confusing to know who does what and exactly where to start to get help needed,” the news release said.
The 2-1-1 service will be able to connect people with agencies that provide:
- Basic human needs such as food banks, clothing, shelters, rent assistance, utility assistance.
- Physical and mental health services, including crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling, drug and alcohol intervention.
- Medicaid and medicare services specific to cancer, early childhood development and more.
- Employment support, such as unemployment benefits, financial assistance, job training, transportation assistance, education programs.
- Support for older Americans and persons with disabilities, including home health care, adult day care, congregate meals, Meals on Wheels, respite care, transportation, and homemaker services.
The 2-1-1 service, which is expected to by up and running by November, is an anonymous place to start with a specialist on hand to help sort out the options. No computer or Internet is required, translation is available in more than 150 languages and callers of all ages can use the service as often as needed.
“About 94 percent of the U.S. population, including more 40 counties in Illinois, already have access to 2-1-1,” the news release said. “This has proven to be a valuable resource for anyone looking for help, whether it’s yourself, a family member, an employee, client, or anyone who comes to you seeking assistance.”
Batavia United Way has contracted with PATH, an accredited call center in Bloomington, to receive calls 24/7/365. PATH provides 2-1-1 service for 40 counties in Illinois that is AIRS certified and Red Cross and FEMA approved for disaster aftermath assistance.
Spearheaded by Batavia United Way, 2-1-1 has been made possible by funding and support from Kane County schools, Kane County government, United Way and a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Fox River Valley.
The cost of the operation is estimated at $100,000 a year.
The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley is a non-profit, tax-exempt, philanthropic organization that administers individual charitable funds from which grants and scholarships are distributed to benefit the citizens of the Greater Aurora Area, the TriCities and Kendall County, Illinois.
For more information, contact your local United Way or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: Batavia United Way news release