About VAIRS

Organization Purpose

  • Increase general community awareness and utilization of Information and Referral (I&R) services
  • Improve the quality of information and referral through education, training and advocacy
  • Foster better communications and relationships among information and referral providers
  • Provide members with information on new human services and changes in existing services
  • Assist members to meet and maintain national information and referral standards as set by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems and the national 2-1-1 collaborative
Our Mission

VAIRS is a statewide association of organizations, agencies and individuals committed to ensuring that all Virginians have access to quality health and human service information.  VAIRS is an affiliate of AIRS, the international Alliance of Information and Referral Systems.

What is information and referral?
Information and Referral (I&R) is a service that people in need and other service providers contact for detailed information on available health and human services.  I&R simplifies access through the maze of social service programs and helps people find the strength to cope with even the most difficult situations.  I&R services are confidential and available to all at no cost.

An I&R service systematically updates and classifies information on community services.  Its resource database provides an inventory of health and human services for the community.  I&R websites, resource lists, directories, and other products provide alternative access to this information for people who do not need the professional assistance of an I&R Specialist or who are unable to contact a Specialist at the time of their need.  I&R statistics review the gaps in service and can be used to help establish priorities for funding social services.  I&R is a profession with a comprehensive understanding of the human services delivery system and a holistic view of people’s wants and needs.  I&R programs are uniquely positioned to meet the information needs of individuals and families, as well as agencies, community planners, and funding sponsors. 

Where can I find information and referral services?

In Virginia, call 2-1-1 or 1 800 230-6977 to find an I&R service that meets your needs or search the 2-1-1 VIRGINIA database at www.211virginia.org. Outside of Virginia, check the Internet site www.211.org sponsored by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems.

Why doesn’t the VAIRS web site list a member in my area?

The VAIRS web site lists the agencies that have joined our association or those who have joined as individuals. We welcome all those interested in the field of Information and Referral and look forward to adding members from your area. May we suggest that you send our web address to anyone you believe to be a potential member?

When is the next meeting of VAIRS?

Membership meetings are held annually.  Notices are sent through the VAIRS listserv to all members or anyone else interested in Information and Referral who is a member of the list.  See our home page to sign up for the listserv.  In addition, training is held periodically and notices are also sent to the listserv and announced on this website.

Can I attend without paying membership dues?

VAIRS meetings and training sessions are open to non-members.  The cost of training is higher for non-members.   

What is the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems?

AIRS is the professional association for nearly 1,000 programs throughout North America that provide information and referral on human services in their respective communities. The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) was incorporated in 1973 to improve access to services for all people through the mechanism of information and referral. AIRS meets this goal through its publications, international training conferences, accreditation of I&R services, certification of I&R Specialists and Resource Specialists, and an I&R clearinghouse.

AIRS offers a professional umbrella for all I&R providers in both public and private organizations. Through its publications and national networking, AIRS promotes the image of I&R and conveys new developments in the field.

AIRS is a non-profit organization as determined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 

How is VAIRS Related to AIRS?  Do I need to be a member of both?

VAIRS is the state-level affiliate of AIRS.  Both seek to promote professionalism within the field of I&R through education and training.  AIRS also offers professional accreditation, certification, publications and resources for the development of 2‑1‑1 services throughout the US and Canada.  VAIRS offers unparalleled opportunities to network with peers within Virginia and to influence the development of 2‑1‑1 within Virginia.  Organizations and I&R professionals are encouraged to participate in both.  Membership in VAIRS is automatic when joining AIRS.  Click here for information about how to become a member of AIRS and VAIRS.

What is a Certified I&R Specialist?

Certification as an Information & Referral Specialist (CIRS) is a professional credential awarded internationally by the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems to individuals who successfully complete the AIRS Certification Program for Information & Referral Specialists.  It is an acknowledgment of demonstrated competence in the field of information and referral.  The CIRS-A is a professional credential for I&R Specialists in Aging, recognizing competence in issues and services for aging and elderly people.  It was developed in cooperation with the National Aging I&R Support Center of the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD).

The AIRS Certification Program is based on established standards for education, experience and specific competencies and related performance criteria, including knowledge, skills, attitudes and work-related behaviors needed by I&R specialists to successfully assist inquirers in finding appropriate community services.

What is a Certified Resource Specialist?

Certified Resource Specialist (CRS) is a professional credential awarded internationally by the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems to individuals who successfully complete the AIRS Certification Program for Resource Specialists. It is an acknowledgment of demonstrated competence in the development, implementation and utilization of a resource database in the field of information and referral.

The AIRS Certification Program is based on established standards for education, experience and specific competencies and related performance criteria, including knowledge, skills, attitudes and work-related behaviors needed by I&R resource specialists to successfully maintain a database of community services.

What is an Accredited I&R Organization?

Accreditation is awarded by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems to I&R services found to meet & maintain the Standards for Professional Information and Referral after a formal review.

Accreditation is a cooperative effort between the I&R agency and AIRS to establish a strong foundation on which the agency can build and grow. The following areas are assessed in accreditation: Service Delivery, Resource Database, Reports and Measures, Cooperative Relationships and Organizational Requirements.

Is VAIRS required to file a 990 report with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)?

VAIRS is not required to file a 990 tax report because its annual revenue is under $25,000.  Instead, VAIRS files a 990-N postcard