Plans for a One-stop 24-hour Social Service Help Line

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today announced the State of Illinois is ready to develop a 24-hour, one-stop 211 telephone number that will connect citizens to a variety of social services across the state. The State is now accepting proposals from qualified organizations to conduct a limited pilot program. Services are expected to begin by July 1st, 2008.

"The greatest benefit of the new 211 one-stop help line will be that callers can be connected to any number of services and programs across various state agencies," said IDHS Secretary Carol Adams, Ph. D. "I'm excited to get this program rolling so that we can better serve the people of Illinois."

The 211 service will streamline access to service delivery networks for Illinoisans throughout the state. When an individual needs information or referral services for which they have little or no prior knowledge or experience, dialing 211 is a simple option. Once the individual dials 211, they will be connected to a call center where they will speak to a professional information and referral specialist who will refer or connect the caller to one of eight state agencies.

"211 will help provide Illinoisans access to critical services spanning several state agencies in a streamlined fashion. Our department stands ready to do its part in making such services available to those in need," said Rocco Claps, Director, Illinois Department of Human Rights.

To apply, organizations can go online to the Central Management Services' (CMS) procurement website ( to download an application. On the website, click IllinoisBID in the top right-hand corner to find the 211 Pilot. Eligible applicants are existing non-profit and governmental organizations that currently provide telephone information and referral services to Illinois communities. There is no funding associated with this RFP, so organizations must demonstrate an ability to provide quality 211 services using existing resources.

Proposals will be reviewed by a collaborative board comprised of representatives from the Governor's Office, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Illinois Department on Aging and Illinois Department of Human Rights.

The application deadline is April 11, 2008 and the final three to six pilot sites will be announced on May 15, 2008. During the pilot program, 211 services will be offered in the geographic areas of the organizations chosen. Statewide 211 services will begin in 2009.