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The United Way here in Boulder County is considering splitting off its
I&R service (First Call for Help).  I just joined a committee headed up
by the Director of Community Services for the County, to take a look at
this issue and the whole issue of "I&R" for county human services...
which they're realizing really encompasses not just human/social
services, but also justice, law enforcement, and schools.
 
I'm wondering: how do other counties or communities have their I&R organized?
As part of their United Way organization, or as part of their County
sevices, or as a separate non-profit entity?  I'm also wondering what other
communets are working closely with these "I&R" entities, wherever it is
they may "beaurocratically" reside :-)?  I know Genevieve Marcus in LA
mentioned that her communet is structuring a relationship with their
countywide AIRS (Alliance of I&R SYstems) division, Info-Line.  I'd be
interested in hearing more about this, and hearing about any other
such efforts in the US?
 
I'd be happy to post periodic updates of my experiences here if there's
interest. Alot of these initial encounters are definitely about "mutual
education", and familiarizing ourselves with each others worlds :-).
 
Another question I have: are there any folks out there who *don't* see it as
quite advantageous to have a centralized (logical, not physical) I&R resource
for the community??  There was some discussion of this recently on usnonprofit-l
... seems there are concerns that a centralized client database, for example,
might violate individuals' privacy.  Couldn't such a centralized resource
just contain the "common denominator" of information, though: that info
on a client which all agencies need, and then any other perhaps more personal
info, individual agencies could collect as necessary?
Here in Boulder, I've heard that the concern is not the central "I&R",
but the next potential step of centralizing *transactions* around the info.
Seems that's when smaller agencies are concerned their roles might be
swallowed up into some larger conglomerate.
 
Thoughts on this??
 
thanks,
Madeline Gonzalez, Coordinator
Boulder Community Network