Community Leadership

Connect Referral System

Coordinating Crucial Services.

Understanding the need for all public, private and nonprofit resources to achieve maximum value from scarce resources and prevent unnecessary duplication of services, in the summer of 2016 the Park County Community Foundation convened a conference for social service agencies, local government and schools, health organizations, and nonprofits to consider how to work collaboratively to achieve those goals.

Foundation Executive Director Peter Fox invited a Lewis & Clark County representative to Livingston to explain how a fledgling Helena-based program was achieving success and to examine whether that model could work in Park County.  The county Health Department became immediately involved and an excellent partnership and shared vision was formed.

Essentially, the “Connect Referral System” is a highly secure web-based data allowing agencies to coordinate care and services for clients. Clients “opt into” the database understanding the system is confidential and allows agencies to speed assistance, share information and direct clients to additional services when needed.

The referral system plays a vial case management function by connecting families and individuals to needed services, following up to ensure they make contact and enroll properly, coordinate care among several agencies, and provide coordinated attention when more than one agency is involved.  Inherent in the connected system is the opportunity to build a needs and service database among participating organizations and helps them evaluate service delivery.

After due-diligence vetting of the system and consultation among initial member agencies, the Connect Referral System was launched in Park County in October 2017.  Today the system is managed by Janelle Bowden, Park County Health Department nurse and an advisory council.  Among the current participating entities are Livingston Health Care, Community Health Partners, Learning Partners, Park County Health Department, Livingston School District, Livingston Food Resource Center, ASPEN, L’Espirit mental health center, Family Outreach, and HRDC.

Next: Learn more about the collaborative effort to acquire critical community information for the future.