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Info Line (211) of Los Angeles County - Oral History Interview - CSWA

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Published on Jan 26, 2012

Part 1: Info Line (211) Panel Discussion
Led by: Richard (Dick) Thor, MSW
Date: August 6, 2008

A panel discussion on the creation of 211 LA County (formerly known as INFO LINE of Los Angeles) - the largest information and referral service in the nation.

Panelists:
Frances Feldman, Sara Turnbull Matta, Marj Nichols, Toby Osos, Marj Wyatt, Esther Gillies

(01:08) -- Panel Introductions
(02:45) -- The founding of Info Line
(05:25) -- Study for Community Chest
(06:45) -- The importance of Social Service Exchange
(09:00) -- The importance of confidentiality
(10:11) -- Start-up of Welfare Information Service call center
(12:06) -- Distribution of first agency directory in 1945
(12:55) -- The emphasis of mental health
(14:50) -- Short Doyle Act Formerly the Hume Act & the creation of the Department of Mental Health
(18:15) -- More on the 1945 Study of the Community Chest
(19:50) -- The board of the Welfare Information Service
(21:22) -- The formation of the Information and Referral Federation of LA County
(23:50) -- Study published to document the extent to which referral services were being provided
(29:13) -- The need for a central agency providing 24/7 service
(32:15) -- Costs of getting toll-free access for entire county
(34:50) -- Sandra Day O'Connor was the incorporating lawyer
(36:00) -- United Way of America National Report on referral services
(37:20) -- Los Angeles impact on national services
(39:15) -- Importance of the relationship between the public and the private sector
(39:45) -- The introduction of automated data processing in the information referral process
(42:00) -- Funding and budget for Info Line
(43:20) -- The rarity of county ownership
(45:20) -- Child Care Information Service Committee in Pasadena
(49:15) -- Support of telephone company
(50:30) -- Current staff and languages used at Info Line
(53:00) -- Volume of calls and measurement of dropped calls
(55:00) -- Answering calls for First Five
(57:30) -- Limitations and separate services for specializations such as Domestic Violence and Suicide Prevention
(01:00:45) -- Change in technology including 211 and Internet
(01:06:00) -- Limitations of statewide coverage
(01:08:00) -- Importance of taxonomy
(01:09:10) -- Budgetary issues and lack of volunteers
(01:10:25) -- Need for federal mandate for services like Info Line
(01:14:13) -- California Social Welfare Archives (CSWA) and the importance of archiving the history of social work

Part 2: Interview with Julio Puchalt, Associate Director InfoLine
Interviewer: Esther Gillies, LCSW
Date: May 20, 2011

(01:22:50) - Puchalt's early years with Info Line
(01:25:19) -- History of the transition from United Way Information and Referral Service to Info Line (211)
(01:26:00) -- TRI Unit -- Telephone Referral Information Unit
(01:28:25) -- Study of Information and Referral Service and the Telephone Referral Information Unit revealed duplication of services -- led to the creation of Info Line in 1981
(01:29:50) -- Info Line's evolution of becoming a national leader in information and referral services
(01:30:40) -- Development of specialized lines such as Elder Abuse Hotline
(01:32:00) -- The Parenting Help Line with First 5 LA Commission
(01:33:30) -- Partnerships and funding
(01:35:45) -- Info Line usage and volume of calls
(01:38:20) -- Breakdown of caller gender, ethnicity and language
(01:39:30) -- The impact of technology
(01:40:45) -- Volatile nature of information -- need for accuracy verification
(01:41:50) -- Taxonomy of Human Services -- Categories
(01:43:20) -- Typical Info Line call procedure
(01:45:15) -- Current staffing as of 2011
(01:45:45) -- Georgia Sales --Taxonomy Development
(01:46:25) -- Transition to 211 system

The California Social Welfare Archives (CSWA ), established in 1979, is a non-profit organization operating under the auspices of the USC School of Social Work and affiliated with the University Libraries. It collects and preserves documents and personal histories of significant contributors to the evolution of social welfare ensuring their availability to future generations -- students, teachers, historians, and researchers. Collection activity includes gathering and archiving social welfare materials of historical significance, conducting oral history interviews with contributors to social welfare solutions in California, and creating events to publicly recognize significant contributors to California social welfare.

Visit us at www.usc.edu/libraries/archives/arc/libraries/cswa and www.socialworkhallofdistinction.org Visit us at http://www.usc.edu/cswa and http://www.socialworkhallofdistinctio...

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