The mission of 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast is to connect people to services 24 hours a day by understanding their individual emotional, financial, and community needs and to support the health & human service system as a whole. The agency’s all volunteer Board of Directors has formulated the following as its vision statement: “211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast envisions a community where people in crisis receive the information and support they need to weather life’s storms.”
211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast is a private nonprofit 501(c)3 agency that was started in 1971 in Palm Beach County as a drug hotline, and quickly expanded into crisis counseling and suicide prevention. In 1981, this effort was funded by the United Way to provide information and referral services, and over the years, additional partners provided funding to support a quality, centralized access point for health and human services information and crisis services. In 2000, the three-digit dialing code, 2-1-1, was designated nationally by the FCC for information and referral purposes, and it became the telephone number for the agency’s helpline. Effective November 1, 2001, the agency expanded its service area to the Treasure Coast, serving the residents of Martin, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee Counties and, in 2005, Indian River County. The agency’s name was officially changed in 2007 from The Center for Information & Crisis Services to 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast. 211 has long been the designated agency to answer all local calls dialed into the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and, since 2010, has served as the Rape Crisis Victim of Violent Crimes Hotline. Today, 211 also responds to a Special Needs Hotline the agency established, as well as the Help Me Grow initiative. With increased technology capabilities and demands, 211 Palm Beach / Treasure Coast also launched CHAT and text messaging functions to better suit the needs of the residents in the service area.
211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast serves as the central access point for the residents of the five-county region regarding health and human services. In addition to 211’s high level of expertise and track record of quality service, it is a cost effective and a more efficient use of limited dollars to invest in one 24 hour/7 day per week crisis hotline/community helpline that has an easy to remember three digit dialing code, 2-1-1. Further, it is efficient to have one organization with the responsibility for maintaining the community resource database for all to use. Additionally, by having this service in place at the time of a disaster or national emergency, there can be immediate response since the infra-structure is already in place. Finally, 211 maintains the integrity of the 911 service.
211 HelpLine: This is 211’s core service. This free, confidential telephone-based service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to anyone who dials 2-1-1 in the five-county service area. Highly trained Resource Specialists provide empathetic guidance and support to individuals and families in distress or in need of information about health and human service programs. An array of support and assistance, including information; assessment; advocacy; referral; and linkage to appropriate community agencies, as well as telephone counseling, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention is
provided. As the central gateway to health and human services, 211 collects, maintains, and makes available up-to-date resource information via printed guides and directories. In addition, information is available online at www.211palmbeach.org and www.211treasurecoast.org via an online database, by chat and text, and on both iPhones and Androids via the 211 App.
Advocacy/Navigation/Care Coordination: In addition to the agency’s core HelpLine service, 211 has, over the years, developed and provided more intense navigation services to special populations to fill in gaps in services when required and/or when identified by the community. The following four programs are currently offered:
Elder Crisis Outreach: This longstanding program (since 1985) provides vulnerable, distressed elders in Palm Beach County with intensive, short-term support in navigating the complex health and human services system that can be overwhelming to an at-risk elder.
Special Needs HelpLine: This program serves as the centralized access point for families of children (birth-22) with special needs in Palm Beach County. Parents and caregivers are assisted in finding needed information and resources, along with necessary support to easily and effectively navigate the maze of available services.
Help Me Grow: This program provides information and advice to parents who are concerned about their child’s (0-8years) physical or emotional development, behavior, or learning. Help Me Grow is a collaboration among service providers with 211 serving as the central access point for these children and their families, providing screening, referrals, care coordination, and follow-up to ensure needed services are received.
Sunshine Telephone Reassurance: This primarily volunteer based program serves more than 500 elderly and homebound clients throughout the five county service area, by providing a daily, reassuring phone call to check on their well-being. Often, the Sunshine call is the only outside contact the elderly client has all day.
Special Services and Initiatives:
- Rape Crisis Victim of Violent Crimes Hotline: In July 2010, Palm Beach County contracted with 211 to serve as the 24 hours per day/7 days per week responder to victims of rape, domestic violence, and crimes.
- Answering Solutions: 211 provides telephone answering services of a wide variety to nonprofit, governmental, and for-profit organizations on a fee-for-service basis.
- Community Initiatives: In response to community need, 211 is available to provide infrastructure support for various health and human services initiatives.
211 is accredited by the American Association for Suicidology, by Contact USA for Chat services, and by the national accrediting agency for information and referral, the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS). 211 staff are individually certified by AIRS and by the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. Further, 211 has successfully completed annual reviews by Nonprofits First, receiving certification in the areas of governance, management, fiscal policies, and human resources.
211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast receives broad based funding from six United Ways; four County Commissions; the State of Florida through the Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council; three Children’s Services Councils; numerous Law Enforcement Departments; and from Foundations, such as the Frank J. Lewis Foundation and Bank of America Foundation. Additionally, 211 receives contributions through fundraising events and solicitations. The 2017-2018 budget for the agency amounted to $2,577,235 with 87% of all dollars in support of direct services.