Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Counseling, Support, and Education Services (PA-CSE) 6: Information and Referral Services

The agency provides information about available community resources and makes referrals or connections as appropriate to the individual’s or family’s identified needs.
NA The agency does not provide information or referral services.
2020 Edition




Individuals and families who participate in Counseling, Support, and Education Services identify and build on strengths, develop skills to manage situational change, access appropriate community support and resources, and improve functioning in daily activities at home, at work, and in the community.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for referring individuals to services
  • Procedures for evaluating and summarizing community needs
  • Crisis response procedures
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Community needs summaries from the previous 12 months
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review contact logs or other documentation of information and referrals provided, when applicable

PA-CSE 6.01

Individuals and families are promptly referred or connected to appropriate, culturally and linguistically responsive resources.

PA-CSE 6.02

The agency maintains, or has access to, an up-to-date list of reliable community resources that include:
  1. name, location, and telephone number;
  2. contact person;
  3. services offered;
  4. languages offered;
  5. fee structure; and
  6. eligibility requirements.

PA-CSE 6.03

The agency regularly:
  1. collects and periodically summarizes data on community needs and available resources, and;
  2. shares summaries with the community.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CSE 6.04

Written procedures address the provision of information and referral services in crisis situations including:
  1. providing intervention and stabilization;
  2. connecting the individual to more intensive services; and/or
  3. contacting emergency responders as appropriate.
Examples: Crisis situations can include those involving victims of violence, individuals at risk for suicide, medical crises, child endangerment, and other emergency situations. Examples of what may be outlined in crisis response procedures can include, but are not limited to: 
  1. protective measures or special precautions related to inquiries from individuals involved in cases of domestic violence or other endangerment situations; 
  2. how to address individuals who wish to remain anonymous yet require direct intervention and stabilization services; 
  3. protocols on how to connect individuals and families to appropriate formal crisis intervention services or emergency responders; and
  4. guidance on mandatory reporting and the disclosure of suspected abuse or other criminal behavior.