Information and Referral: Ensure a Strong and Accessible Vermont 211 Information and Referral System

For many years, nonprofit service providers throughout Vermont have promoted and relied upon Vermont 211 as the one phone number to remember, as the reliable, trusted place where someone will always answer and help people connect with services and referrals. Vermont 211 is supported in large part by state funding through the Department of Children and Families. The program has been level-funded for many years even as the actual cost of running the program has grown significantly. The final FY24 Budget funded only 84% of the needed funding to run the program, with over half of that from one-time funding.

The Alliance supports the allocation of base state funding in FY25 for the Vermont 211 Information and Referral System that allows for full-time service, maintenance of information databases, and capacity to assist the state and municipalities in times of disaster and emergencies. FY24 costs were projected to be $1.4 million to maintain operations.

Results: Base and one-time funding secured for full 24/7 operations in FY25

The Governor’s Recommended FY25 Budget included $1.3 million in base funding for Vermont 211 operations. This funding level would support the current level of service and stabilize operations by providing base funding, as opposed to FY24 funding that relies in part on one-time funds. However, that level of funding would not provide for overnight coverage.

The House Human Services Committee advocated to increase the Governor’s proposal by $332,000 to allow for a return to the 24-hour/7-day service level that had been provided until July 2023. The full House supported that recommendation. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee reduced the additional funding by about $150,000, and so the Senate’s budget provided only enough funding for full coverage five days a week.

fIn final budget negotiations, the House strongly supported funding 24/7 service, nd as a result this was included in the final FY25 Budget passed by the Legislature. The increased funding means that on July 1 of this year Vermont 211 will be able to return to full time, 24/7 service, providing support at all hours for families in need.

Lead Organization: Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance

Data and Talking Points

  • Vermont 211 received 49,126 contacts by phone and text in 2022.