Finding Help (Back to Top)Information and Referral Lines & Hotlines Information and Referral (I&R) or Information & Assistance (I&A) services facilitate the connection of people to needed health and social services. These numbers may be general or comprehensive lines that maintain information about a full range of human services. Specialized I&R lines can focus on a particular set of resources that are appropriate for a specific population (such as aging or disability) or human service sector (like child care or public health). I&R services may be called Clearinghouses. Hotlines or Helplines also provide information and make referrals to services but these lines may also provide immediate phone or on-line counseling to persons in crisis.
How They WorkWhether using an I&R service or a hotline, the specialist answering the call will ask a series of questions to understand the caller’s needs. The specialist’s responsibility is to listen and provide the caller with the best options available. All conversations are confidential. Personal questions may be asked in order to provide the specialist with information needed to give the most appropriate choices. There might be follow-up contact when appropriate or requested. A resource database, such as infoMONTGOMERY, is designed only as a tool for finding help. Whereas using an Information & Referral service or a Hotline involves discussing your needs with a person who is knowledgeable about the area’s resources. Beyond I&R services and Hotlines, care or case management services offer the assistance of a professional who is specifically trained to assess an individual’s needs. They provide advice on coordinating and/or linking individuals to appropriate services and providers, as necessary. This may also involve continued support on a short or long-term basis.
Asking the Right QuestionsWhether you are given a referral from an I&R professional or if you located a service that meets your search criteria from the Internet, it is important to make sure the service is right for you. It is important to ask the right questions of any provider.
- The first set of questions should involve an inquiry about the services offered and your eligibility:
- Ask for clarification about the program activity details, as well as who can participate or receive services.
- Ask for specifics regarding any fees and payment options. Ask whether the provider currently accepts your insurance, if appropriate. If you do not have insurance, ask if you can still receive services.
- Always double check on office hours and location. Find out the type of location where services are offered, e.g. office, school or in the home.
- Ask about the availability of interpretation or translation services, if needed.
- For specialized services, it is important to ask questions about the provider and organization:
- Ask about the provider’s years in service and staff experience and training.
- Ask about the facility’s or provider’s licensure status, particularly in the field of mental health services.
- Ask if the provider has experience offering services to individuals or families from your particular background or unique needs.
Information & Assistance (Back to Top)The Information and Referral (I&R) or Information & Assistance (I&A) lines maintain information about human service resources in the community and link people who need assistance with appropriate providers or supply descriptive information about the organizations which offer these services. The numbers that follow facilitate the connection of people to needed health and social services in specific areas.
Search Comprehensive Information and Referral programs Search Specialized Information and Referral programs
- Seniors & Persons with Disabilities
- Mental & Behavioral Health
- Public Health & Safety
- ChildLink at (240) 777-GROW (4769), (240) 777-1009 (TTY) Provides parents and caregivers with resources and information about Montgomery County services and linkages to programs that are available to assist them with children birth to age five. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Pathway to Services Office at (301) 354-4905, Provides information/referrals to public and private callers seeking varying levels of information and services for children with intensive needs, as well as operates as a newly developed access point for these services in Montgomery County. Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children Youth and Families.
- LOCATE: Child Care at (877)261-0060 Provides resource and referral information to parents searching for child care in Maryland. Maryland Child Care Resource Network
- Montgomery County Public Schools Ask MCPS at (301) 309-MCPS (6277) Provides families and community members with a one-stop resource for accurate and timely information about school operations, programs, enrollment, tests and reports, and other information about the school system. For non-English parents and community members to ask questions and receive information about MCPS in their native language and to request help in communicating with school staff: Hispanic Hotline, 301-230-3073; Chinese, 301-230-5428; French, 301-230-5429; Korean, 301-230-5430; Swahili, 301-230-5429; and Vietnamese, 301-230-5432. Montgomery County Public Schools.
- Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting at (240) 777-4417, (240) 777-3556 (TTY) Report child abuse and neglect to ensure the safety of children; 24-hour service. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Child Support Enforcement at (800) 332-6347
Seniors and Persons with Disabilities
- Senior HelpLine at (301) 255-4200, (301) 881-5263 (TDD) Connects older people, caregivers, and eldercare professionals to the resources they need in Greater Washington, D.C. area and suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia regions. Jewish Council for the Aging.
- Information and Assistance Line for Seniors and People with Disabilities at (240) 777-3000, (240) 777-4575 (TTY) Provides information and referral to Montgomery County services and alternative living arrangements as well as assistance in applying for benefits. 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Adult Abuse and Neglect Reporting at (240) 777-3000, (240) 777-4575 (TTY) Report abuse, neglect, self-neglect or the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult; 24-hour service. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Abuse and Neglect Of Adults With Disabilities at (410) 402-8100 Reporting of psychological/physical, sexual abuse, seclusion and/or unauthorized/inappropriate use of restraints, violation of civil rights, inhumane treatment for adults with developmental disabilities. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Maryland Relay Service at (800) 735-2258 Provides relay service between TTY and voice callers. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind or speech disabled can easily communicate through TTY (text telephone) with anyone using a standard phone.
Mental and Behavioral Health
- Montgomery County Mental Health Access Team at (240) 777-1770, (240) 777-1236 (TTY) Provides information and referral to Montgomery County residents who have Maryland Medical Assistance or those with no insurance, about outpatient mental health providers serving Montgomery County. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Military Outreach Initiative Information and Resource Helpline at (301) 738-7176 An information and resource helpline designed to help all service members, veterans and family members find necessary and practical resource throughout the region. Mental Health Association.
- Alcohol and Drug Information at (800) 729-6686, (800) 487-7899 (TDD) Trained information specialists who can answer questions about substance abuse. National Clearinghouse for Alcohol, Drug Information.
- Maryland Community Services Locator (MDCSL) The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) interactive online directory developed to assist professionals and community members in locating community services statewide. Available on line at www.mdcsl.org.
- Narcotics Anonymous Helpline at (800) 543-4670 24-hour regional helpline for alcohol and drug abuse. Chesapeake and Potomac Region of Narcotics Anonymous.
- Emergency Shelter Beds at 240-777-4000, (240) 777-4815 (TTY) Connects individuals with needed shelter services in Montgomery County. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Housing and Code Enforcement at (240) 777-3600, (240) 777-3679 (TTY) Reporting violations of lease agreement; property damage claims; violations of security deposit and eviction counseling; apartment complaints. Reporting of violations to the housing code for detached homes and townhouses. Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Public Health and Safety
- Emergency Police, Fire & Rescue at 911 Dispatch for police, fire and rescue personnel in case of an emergency.
- Poison Information Center Maryland at (800) 222-1222 Provides identification information on treatment after ingestion of poisons, drugs or plants. Maryland Poison Center.
- Immunization Line at (240) 777-1050, (240) 777-1318 (TTY) Provides 24-hour information on immunizations in Montgomery County such as locations for eligible children to obtain immunizations and the availability of flu shots for adults. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Montgomery Cares Information & Referral Line at (301)628-3455 Provides information and access to primary health services for low-income uninsured Montgomery County residents. Primary Care Coalition.
- Police, non-Emergency at (301) 279-8000 24-hour line to the Montgomery County Police Department for non-emergency calls. Montgomery County Police Department.
- Gang Prevention Hotline at (240) 777-1245, (240) 777-1295 (TTY) Provides parents and teens with information about gang prevention and intervention services. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Gang Tip Hotline at 240-773-GANG (4264) Leave an anonymous tip reporting gang activity in Montgomery County; 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Montgomery County Police Department.
- Crime Solvers Tip Line at (866) 411-TIPS (8477) Allows citizens to offer anonymous information about crime. Rewards are paid for information leading to the arrest and indictment of criminals or the capture of wanted persons. Montgomery County Police Department.
- Montgomery County Drug Tip Hotline at (240) 773-DRUG (3784) Leave an anonymous tip with information relating to illegal drug activities in Montgomery County. Montgomery County Police Department.
- Safe Schools Hotline at (301) 517-5995 Hotlines are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive anonymous information about school safety and security concerns in Montgomery County schools. Students, parents and community members are urged to report information about weapons, drugs, alcohol. Montgomery County Public Schools.
- Maryland Safe Schools Tip Line at (877) 636-6332 Report safety and/or security concerns in Maryland’s schools, including information about weapons, drugs, alcohol. Maryland State Department of Education.
- Illegal Dumping at (240)777-DUMP (3867) Report illegal dumping such as dumping trash along a roadway, vacant lot, field, or wooded area, and also the unauthorized use of a dumpster – or dumping chemicals, pesticides, used automotive fluids, and other pollutants into storm drains, waterways, and on the ground. Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.
- Highway Maintenance at (240) 777-ROAD (7623) Report roadway maintenance, trees, potholes, snow removal in Montgomery County. Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation.
Hotlines (Back to Top)The Hotline numbers that follow provide immediate phone or on-line counseling between people who are emotionally distressed and individuals who have been trained to provide telephone assistance. The objective is to defuse the immediate crisis, ensure the person’s safety, and assist the person to take the next immediate steps toward resolving the problem.
- Search Crisis Hotlines
- Victim Assistance & Sexual Assault Hotline (240) 777-4357, (240) 777-1347 (TTY) Provides 24-hour counseling, information and referral for persons who are a victim of crime, including rape or sexual assault. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting (240) 777-4417, (240) 777-3556 (TTY) Report child abuse and neglect to ensure the safety of children; 24-hour service. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Partner Abuse Crisis Line (240) 777-4673 Provides 24-hour assistance for victims of mate-related physical abuse, including shelter and counseling services. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
- Youth Crisis Hotline (301) 738-9697 Provides confidential and anonymous support by trained counselors for Montgomery County youth through a 24-hour telephone active listening and referral service. Mental Health Association.
- Operation Runaway Hotline (800) 204-8600 Provides Montgomery County 24-hour telephone crisis intervention and brief counseling for youth on the run or youth considering running away; consultation for concerned parents or community members. Potomac Ridge Behavioral Health.
- Maryland Youth Crisis Line (800) 422-0009
- Family Stress Line (800) 243-7337 Provides 24-hour family crisis hotline support, staffed by trained volunteers who offer consultation regarding parent stress management and child behavior management. The Family Tree, Maryland.
- National Runaway Hotline (800) 621-4000, (800) 621-0394 (TTY) Offers 24-hour national hotline service for parents and youth including crisis intervention, message service, educational information, referrals, and runaway searches. National Runaway Switchboard.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (7255) Provides 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network.
- National Hopeline Network (800) SUICIDE (784-2433) A national hotline for persons having thoughts about suicide. Calls are connected to a certified crisis center nearest the caller’s location. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Kristin Brooks Hope Center.