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CIRS-A Certification for Information and Referral Specialists Examination Preparation Training Prepared by: Illinois Department on Aging.

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Presentation on theme: "CIRS-A Certification for Information and Referral Specialists Examination Preparation Training Prepared by: Illinois Department on Aging."— Presentation transcript:

1 CIRS-A Certification for Information and Referral Specialists Examination Preparation Training Prepared by: Illinois Department on Aging

2 Certification is... A measurement of documented ability in the field of I&R … reflecting specific competencies and related performance criteria, which describe the knowledge, skills, attitudes and work-related behaviors needed by I&R practitioners to successfully execute their duties

3 Preparing for AIRS CIRS-A Overview of materials to study Principles of the AIRS Certification Program History of Older Americans Act I&R Tenants/Bill of Rights, Philosophy of Aging I&R Professional Standards for Information and Referral ABCs of I&R (preferably 2006 edition or later) CIRS-A Performance Based Competencies Information and Referral Models to Remember (an AIRS Journal article available from AIRS web site at

4 For CIRS-A Examination: I&R Systems/Services 10% of exam I&R Process40% of exam Special Interventions10% of exam Special Populations10% of exam Aging Specific Information/Scenarios30% of exam (all approximate)

5 The CIRS-A Exam - What to expect: 100 multiple choice questions with 4 options for each answer 75% correct to pass (varies slightly on each exam because of varying degrees of difficulty) Pass/Fail– no grade, no score Review questions Interactive training-review Easy as ANE, CCP and CCC tests You know most of the materials already!!

6 CRIS-A Materials and Handouts PPT Outline AIRS Standards ABCs of I&R sections CIRS-A Competencies NASUA online study outline – (for outline only, not for review of web sites) Tenents Principles of Certification History of Older Americans Act I&R

7 What is AIRS? AIRS mission: To provide leadership and support to its members and Affiliates to advance the capacity of a Standards-driven Information and Referral industry that brings people and services together." (

8 I&R and the Aging Network – AoA, NASUA, NAAAA Administration on Aging funds: Eldercare Locator National Aging Information and Referral Support Center Annual Aging I&R Symposium-AIRS National Conference National AIRS Board of Directors Collaborated with AIRS to establish a specialized I&R Certification for the Aging Network

9 Principles of the AIRS Certification Program AIRS has prepared a four page handout summarizing certification for all candidates. Also the CIRS-A application, and study outlines are available at

10 History of Older Americans Act Information and Referral (CIRS-A) 1921 human service I&Rs More important in 1960s & 1970s Older Americans Act – OAA mandated I&R – through AAAs 1990 – AoA launched its two-pronged National I&R Initiative: Eldercare Locator National I&R Support Center

11 Tenants I&R Bill of Rights Philosophy of Information and Referral Main Functions of an Information and Referral Service Services for Older Adults and/or their Caregivers Services for the Community

12 AIRS Information & Referral Bill of Rights Accurate and comprehensive information Anonymous and/or confidential Inquirers personal value system Respect and sensitivity Barrier-free access to information Self-determination Appropriate level of support in obtaining services Empowered to the extent possible Access most appropriate service in community

13 Philosophy of Information & Referral Understand inquirers situation Immediate and appropriate information, crisis emergency Empower not solve Help prioritize needs Help identify resources Do not overwhelm or provide too few options Advocate Follow up

14 Main Functions of Information and Referral Service Database Easy access Provide I&R for human services Problem solving assistance/advocacy Follow up Gaps for community planners, funding Develop cooperative relations (coordinated systems), integrated service delivery and education activities

15 AIRS Standards For Professional Information And Referral Version 5.2 Revised May, 2007 We need to start with the Standards To apply the relationship of the Standards to the skills and techniques of I&R Services The Standards are the foundation of AIRS accreditation And an excellent training tool!

16 The Standards begin with: Introduction Information and Referral Bill of Rights Philosophy of Information and Referral Please highlight important contents of the Standards as these are reviewed

17 The Standards are grouped in six categories: I. Service Delivery II. Resource Database III. Reports and Measures IV. Cooperative Relationships V. Organizational Requirements VI. Disaster Preparedness

18 I. Service Delivery Standard 1: Information Provision Standard 2: Referral Process Standard 3: Advocacy/ Intervention Standard 4: Crisis Intervention Standard 5: Follow-up

19 II. Resource Database Standard 6: Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria Standard 7: Data Elements Standard 8: Classification System (Taxonomy) Standard 9: Indexing the Resource Database/Search Methods Standard 10: Database Maintenance

20 III. Reports and Measures Standard 11: Inquirer Data Collection Standard 12: Data Analysis and Reporting

21 IV. Cooperative Relationships Standard 13: Cooperative Relationships within the Local I&R System Standard 14: Cooperative Relationships within the Local Service Delivery System Standard 15: Cooperative Relationships Among Local, State or Provincial, Regional, National, and International I&R Providers Standard 16: Participation in State or Provincial, Regional, National, and International I&R Associations

22 V. Organizational Requirements Standard 17: Governance Standard 18: Personnel Administration Standard 19: Staff Training Standard 20: Promotion and Outreach

23 VI. Disaster Preparedness Standard 21: Emergency Operations and Business Contingency Plan Standard 22: Pre- and Post- Disaster Database Standard 24: Disaster-Related I&R Service Delivery

24 VI. Disaster Preparedness Standard 25: Disaster-Related Inquirer Data Collection/Reports Standard 26: Disaster-Related Technology Requirements Standard 27: Disaster Training and Exercise (These are the newest Standards)

25 Wrap-up- I&R Professional Standards The Standards are an excellent training tool How do the Standards relate to each chapter of the ABC? How do the Standards relate to CIRS-A Competencies? What do the Standards say as we review all of the training materials?

26 ABCs Of I&R – Methodology for the 21 sections Learning concepts and objectives Section components Introductory exercises What the AIRS Standards say What you need to know Sample Test Questions

27 1.The Nature of Information and Referral What is I&R? What are the I&R Standards? Roles of an I&R Characteristics of an I&R Information and Referral Bill of Rights Principles of Information and Referral

28 Section 2: From Greeting to Closure – The I&R Process Overview of the 5 main stages of the I&R process Contact Assessment Clarification Information and Referral Giving Closure

29 Section 3: Empowerment and Advocacy Empowerment Advocacy Individual advocacy When to advocate Examples of advocacy System advocacy

30 Section 4: Follow-up Follow-up Reasons for follow-up Types of follow-up Follow-up outcomes Follow-up methods and processes Outline for potential follow-up

31 Section 5: Crisis Intervention Role of I&R in a crisis Handling an immediate crisis Types of crises Defusing and handling a crisis situation Elements of a suicide risk assessment

32 Section 6: Confidentiality Confidentiality in I&R Explicit permission Reporting of abuse Confidentiality and endangerment Relevance of information

33 Section 7: Values, Self-Awareness and Self-Determination Values and perceptions Self-awareness Self-determination Withholding judgment

34 Section 8: Responding Effectively to Challenging Inquirers Challenging people Techniques to defuse anger Mental health calls and constant callers Setting boundaries Face-to-face interviews

35 Section 9: Using the Resource Database for I&R Referrals Nature of a resource database Structure of a resource database Searching a resource database Sharing information with inquirers Additional considerations when working with resource databases Other information resources

36 Section 10: Special Populations- Serving Diverse Communities The meaning of diversity Diversity awareness Serving people from diverse communities

37 Section 11: Special Populations- Serving People with Addictions Characteristics of substance abuse Alcoholism and drug addictions Effects of addictions on families Referral options for people with addictions Methadone maintenance Concurrent disorders, co-occurring disorders and dual diagnosis Problem gambling/gambling addictions

38 Section 12: Specials Populations- Serving Older Adults Definitions of older and elderly The aging process Overcoming barriers to communications Specific services for older adults Elder abuse

39 Section 13: Special Populations- Serving Young People Serving young people Youth issues At-risk youth Runaway youth Emancipation

40 Section 14: Special Populations- Serving People with Mental Illness Nature and types of mental illnesses Depression Bipolar disorder Schizophrenia Anxiety disorders Services available for people with mental illnesses Communicating with people concerning mental illness Consumer/survivors

41 Section 15: Special Populations- Serving Military Personnel and their Families Needs of military personnel and their families Deployment issues Emotional cycle of separation Basic structure of military family support services

42 Section 17: Resource Database- Overview Function and contents of an I&R resource database Database users Database products Functions of a Resource Specialist Skills of a Resource Specialist

43 Section 18: Resource Database- Inclusion and Exclusion Policy Nature of inclusion and exclusion criteria Advantages of having a formally documented inclusion/exclusion policy Inclusion Exclusion The gray areas Managing the inclusion/exclusion policy

44 Section 19: Resource Database- Data Structure Structure of a resource database Organizations, sites and services/programs Primary and secondary services AIRS mandatory, recommended and optional data elements Types of data elements Advantages of a style guide.

45 Section 20: Resource Database- Classification Systems and Taxonomy Organizing and indexing resource databases Indexing by organization name Indexing by geographic area Service indexing Structure and strengths of the AIRS/INFO LINE Taxonomy Basic principles of Taxonomy indexing Customizing the Taxonomy Keyword lists

46 Section 21: Resource Database- Database Maintenance Data maintenance standards Annual updating processes Interim updating processes Gathering information on a new agency Managing the updating process Database security

47 Summary of ABCs, Introduction to the CIRS-A Competencies The ABCs incorporates the I&R Standards with skills, techniques procedures and provides the formal language and structure of I&R The CIRS-A Competencies combines both the I&R Standards and the ABCs with knowledge of services for older adults The National I&R Support Center expanded the CIRS Competencies with an Aging Specialty

48 CRIS-A Study Guide Tenents of I&R Older Americans Act I&R AIRS Mission Philosophy of I&A I&R Bill of Rights Main Functions for I&R Services Services for older adults and their caregivers Services for the community

49 CRIS-A Study Guide A. General knowledge of I&A B. Demonstrated I&R skills and abilities C. Attitudes and work related behaviors for the Aging Network

50 Online Resource Guide for Developing Aging Competence for I&R/A Specialists (17 Chapters) (page 1 of 2) 1. Aging 2. Aging Network 3. Federal Laws & Programs 4. Elder Rights & Resources 5. Employment & Older Workers 6. Family Caregiving & Kinship 7. Health Care & Aging 8. Health Promotion/ disease prevention

51 NASUA – Online Resource Guide continued (page 2 of 2) 9. Home & Community Based Services 10. Income Security/Retirement 11. Long Term Care/Nursing Homes 12. Mental Health & Aging 13. Multicultural Aging 14. Nutrition 15. Older volunteers 16. Senior Housing Options 17. Transportation & Mobility

52 Information and Assistance Skills Building The Information & Referral Interview: Models to Remember Norman L. Maas Two Basic Models Basic advice on how to approach the referral interview Basic principles for the crisis intervention model for I&R provision And an overview of active listening

53 What goes into interviewing? The counseling model for the referral interview Understanding people How we are all different The importance of feelings Feelings in times of upset and change The mix of feelings Learning to know yourself The importance of each person

54 Will come through with the... Attentiveness with which you listen Sensitivity with which you ask questions Respect with which you treat confidence Restraint you use in imposing your views on others Care you take to avoid disappointments and ill-founded statement and promises

55 What takes place in an interview? At the beginning– discomfort Putting fears to rest Information giving: a few general comments Knowing enough about the persons problem A persons right not to tell you everything Knowing the resource file

56 What takes place in an interview? Letting people tell you in their own way: good listening pays off Giving information that is useful and relevant to the person Making sure people understand When people get angry Ending the interview

57 A Counseling Model for Information and Referral Provision (Based on Gerald Caplans work) Stage I: Define problem, develop relationship and trust Stage II: Clarification of the problem Stage III: Establish contact Stage IV: Exploration of referrals Stage V: Discuss referrals and alternatives State VI: Terminating contact

58 Basic Helping Skills Confronting Attitude Attending Reflecting Paraphrasing Reflecting feelings Summarizing Focusing Questioning

59 The referral process Interaction between two people considering involvement of a third party Resource Ring 1. What has client tried so far? 2. What else thought of doing? 3. Assistance from family - friends? 4. Happened before? How handled then?

60 The Resource Ring Feelings of the client Frustration Rejection Guilt Anxiety Special fears

61 Basic principles in making a referral (page 1 of 2) 1. Let client describe problem-feelings Clarify, move slowly 2. Gather information needed 3. Decide upon referral, discuss with staff 4. Avoid confusing client (1 or 2 referrals) 5. Do not discuss another agencys fees

62 Basic principles in making a referral (page 2 of 2) 6. Encourage caller to take initiative 7. Have client write down information 8. Give caller realistic information-limits 9. Counseling referral 10. Client may refuse counseling referral

63 Six steps I&R defined 1. Define problem, develop relationship, and trust 2. Clarify the problem 3. Establish contact 4. Explore referrals 5. Discuss referrals 6. Terminate contact

64 From Common Ground Crisis Center 10 reasons for failures in communication 1. Pre-judgment 2. Jump to conclusions 3. Assume 4. Closed mind 5. Lack of attention 6. Wishful hearing 7. Different meanings 8. Talk too much 9. Lack empathy 10. Fear

65 You are now ready Thanks for your hard work We know you will do well on the CIRS-A exam Please complete the training evaluation

66 Good I&A is performed by people who: 1. View the client with respect and dignity 2. Believe in self help 3. Work from good referral models 4. Take the time to find out what the client really is trying to resolve and help them explore ways to resolve or address their real problems (Refer to page 53)

67 Active Listening Four cornerstones Listening to feelings Giving feedback Being non-judgmental Developing empathy

68 Incorporate 8 specific Active Listening Skills Emotional labeling Reflecting Paraphrasing Effective pause Open-ended questions I message Consensual Validation

69 Patience and other noble qualities Some helpful phrases Pages Some good open-ended questions I message from-- I feel (emotion) when you (behave) because (reason) Values Clarification (clarifying responses) Good termination statements For normal callers For manipulative callers For abusive or angry callers

70 Ten Basic Rules for Good I&A Listening (Page 53) Dont be judgmental Dont give personal information to callers Dont talk about I&A calls or callers outside of I&A Dont accept responsibility for a callers Action Dont do anything for callers that they can do for themselves

71 Ten Basic Rules for Good I&A Listening continued (Page 53) Dont hesitate to set firm limits on callers when it is needed Dont leave the I&A room upset by a call or a caller - talk it out with designated staff Do terminate immediately when it is called for DO NOT use active listening skill on every call Do use the staff as your support system

72 10 Most Often Overlooked Benefits Make sure callers know about all services Medicaid Food Stamps Pharmacy Assistance Property Tax Relief Veterans Benefits Health Insurance Counseling State Veterans Benefits Weatherization Nutrition Services SSI

73 Thanks for participating All the materials needed for the CIRS-A exam have been reviewed and you are now ready for the CIRS-A certification exam. Thanks for the hard work.

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