Community Services Locator
An Online Directory for Finding Community Services for Children and Families
Knowledge Path Table of Contents
Most communities have education, health, mental health, family support, parenting, child care, and other services that can help children and families. However, locating those services or even knowing which services to look for is often difficult. The Community Services Locator is designed to help service providers and families find available national, state, and local resources that can address child and family needs.
Service providers can use the locator with Where to Seek Help: A Bright Futures Referral Tool for Providers (2006) to help build a customized directory of community-based resources. The tool is also available in Spanish. Families can use the locator with the Building Your Care Notebook, a set of forms created by the National Center for Medical Home Implementation to organize and track helpful community-based resources.
Child Care/Early Childhood Education
These tools help to locate child care, early childhood education, and financial assistance for child care.
Early childhood education
Financial assistance for child care
These tools help to locate developmental assessment and learning services for children at various ages who may have special education needs. See the Parenting section for general education resources for families.
- Local Public School. Contact your local public school's special services/special education director if you have concerns about your child's progress and would like to have him or her evaluated. This person can provide specific contacts for the child study team, school psychologist, Child Find and early intervention programs, special schools, and other special services available in your school district. To find your local public school, see Search for Public Schools by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
- Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR): Find Your Parent Center. Contact information for the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and Community Parent Resource Center (CPRC) in your state and a national PTI for military families. PTIs and CPRCs offer information about disabilities, early intervention (for babies and toddlers), school services (for school-aged children), therapy, local policies, and much more. PTIs and CPRCs also offer free advocacy and training on a variety of topics such as advocacy in schools and how to partner with professionals to meet your child's needs. CPIR also offers resources on topics ranging from accommodations to transition.
- MyChildWithoutLimits.org: Resource Locator. Contact information for local early intervention services, government agencies, and United Cerebral Palsy affiliates for families of infants and children from birth through age 5 with developmental delays or disabilities.
- National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC): Contact Resources. Contact information for federal and state early intervention (Part C) and preschool special education (Section 619) programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- Department of Education: Education Resource Organizations Directory (EROD). Organizations that provide information and assistance on a broad range of education-related topics.
- Also see NCEMCH knowledge paths Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges in Children and Adolescents, and Social and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents.
These tools help to locate prevention and intervention services for child maltreatment, community violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and sudden and other unexpected infant death, as well as faith-based support services, family support groups, marriage and family therapists, military family support services, and respite care for caregivers or families of individuals with disabilities or other special needs.
Also use the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Search to identify community-based family support organizations.
Child maltreatment prevention and intervention services
- Childhelp®: National Child Abuse Hotline. Crisis intervention, information, and referrals to emergency, social service, and support resources. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who, through interpreters, can provide assistance in 170 languages. All calls are anonymous and confidential. Telephone: (800) 4-A-CHILD (800) 422-4453.
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC): 24-Hour Hotline. A hotline to assist the public in reporting missing and exploited children and in providing information to help locate these children. Telephone: (800) THE-LOST (800) 843-5678.
- National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC): Help for Crime Victims. Contact information for local services for victims of all types of crime. Search by type of crime (e.g., child abuse, child sexual abuse) or special need (e.g.,language, disability), among other criteria.
- National Runaway Safeline (NRS). Telephone: (800) RUNAWAY (800) 786-2929 or chat live on the NRS website for confidential support and referrals to service providers.
- National Safe Place Txt 4 Help. Adolescents in crisis can text SAFE and their current location (street address, city, and state) to 69866. They will receive the address of the nearest safe place site and a phone number for the local youth shelter. If there is no local shelter or safe place, they will be referred to the National Runaway Safeline.
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): National Sexual Assault Hotline. Free, confidential counseling 24 hours a day in partnership with rape crisis centers across the country. Telephone: (800) 656-HOPE (800) 656-4673. The hotline also offers an online interface. Or search by state or zip code to find a local crisis center.
- Also see NCEMCH resource brief Child Maltreatment.
Community violence prevention and intervention services
Dating violence prevention and intervention services
Domestic violence prevention and intervention services
Faith-based support services
- Contact your local church, synagogue, temple, or other religious institution. For telephone numbers and addresses, use the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Search, or check the yellow pages of your telephone book under the sections for religious organizations, churches, and synagogues and temples. Also check under the section for social service organizations where the local offices for faith-based organizations that offer family services are listed (e.g., Catholic Charities, Islamic Society, Jewish Federation, Salvation Army).
- American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC): Find a Counselor.
- Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies (AJFCA): Find a Service Near You.
- Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS): Group Search. Find a Christian-based support group for mothers of infants and young children.
- Also see the Families USA directory of faith-based resources.
Family support groups
- AARP: GrandFacts. Grandparents and other relatives who have primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren can find state fact sheets with information about the range of local support services, benefits, and policies they need to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities.
- American Self-Help Group Clearinghouse: Self-Help Group Sourcebook Online. Information about national and international self-help support groups for chronic illnesses and disabilities, bereavement, parenting, caregiver concerns, and other stressful life situations. Use the sourcebook to find or start a support group in your community.
- Boys Town National Hotline. Crisis, resource, and referral line staffed by trained counselors who can respond to questions from adolescents and parents about suicide prevention, depression, school issues, parenting troubles, runaways, relationship problems, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, substance abuse, and anger, among other topics. Telephone 24 hours a day: (800) 448-3000; (800) 448-1833 (TDD) (English, Spanish, and 140 other languages).
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: National Foster Care and Adoption Directory Search. Find adoption and foster care resources and support groups.
- Family Voices in Your State. Families with a child who has special health care needs can find the Family Voices network member in their state for information about services and community connections.
- National Black Child Development Institute Affiliates. Find NBCDI affiliate chapters that work to improve child welfare services, advocate for universal early care and education, build family support services, press for educational reform, and provide information on children's health to improve and protect the quality of life of African-American children and families.
- National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs: Find a Local Club. Parents of multiples can find a local support group.
- Parents Anonymous: National Parent Helpline. Trained advocates provide emotional support for parents and caregivers. Telephone: (855) 4-A-PARENT (427-2736). Go to Find Support for a directory of parenting services in your state and for parenting materials.
- Parent to Parent USA (P2P-USA): Find P2P Programs. Families of children with special health care needs can find emotional support and information. The programs match parents seeking support with a trained and experienced veteran parent who has shared the experience of disability in the family.
- See NCEMCH collection of family resource briefs.
- See the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) and the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health.
Marriage and family therapists
Military family support services
- Military OneSource. Information and referral service for military personnel and their families on issues such as relationships, stress, grief, parenting, child care, personal finances, spouse employment and education, emotional support during deployments, relocation, or the particular concerns of families of children with special health care needs. Telephone 24 hours a day: (800) 342-9647.
- National Resource Directory. Information for wounded service members, veterans, their families, and caregivers about services and resources at the national, state, and local levels that support recovery, rehabilitation, and community reintegration.
- Specialized Training of Military Parents (STOMP): Search for Volunteers in Your State. Find contact information for volunteers in each state who are parents of children with special education or health care needs and have experience in raising their children in military communities and traveling with their spouses to different locations. Telephone: (800) 5-PARENT (572-7368) (Voice or TDD).
Respite care for caregivers or families of individuals with disabilities or other special needs
Sudden and other unexpected infant death prevention and intervention services
These tools help to locate child support enforcement, employment, financial assistance, food, home energy, housing, legal assistance, and other social services.
- 2-1-1 Information and Referral Search. Find information about local 2-1-1 call centers or other information and referral-related centers for community-based services such as food, housing, employment, health care, financial assistance, counseling, disaster-related services, and more. Telephone: 211.
- American Bar Association: Consumers' Guide to Legal Help. Find a lawyer, free legal help, foreclosure assistance, legal information, and court information in your state.
- Benefits.gov. Eligibility criteria, program descriptions, and contact information in English and Spanish about federal and state government benefit and assistance programs. An online form helps users identify benefits for which they may be eligible, including career development assistance, child care, child support, counseling, disability assistance, disaster relief, education, training, home energy assistance, food, grants, scholarships, health care, housing, insurance, living assistance, loans, loan repayment, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, tax assistance, veterans, military personnel, and volunteer opportunities.
- Also see the sections Health insurance and Financial assistance for child care.
Health and Wellness
These tools help to locate asthma care; autism spectrum disorder care; children's hospitals; diabetes care; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender services; genetics services; health directories; health insurance; home health care and hospice care; injury prevention; mental health services; nutrition services; oral health/dental care; physical therapy; poison control centers; prescription assistance; primary health care; public health; reproductive health services; sleep centers and specialists; speech, language, and hearing services; suicide prevention services; and tobacco, alcohol, and substance use prevention and intervention services.
Recommended Starting Point for Finding Consumer Health Information
- National Library of Medicine (NLM): MedlinePlus.
Links to information on over 900 conditions, diseases, and wellness topics
Prescription and nonprescription drug information
Video clips, tutorials, health calculators, and other tools on common conditions, tests, and treatments
Health information in multiple languages
Autism Spectrum Disorder
- AutismLink: Nationwide Provider Database. Click on a state to find autism-related services.
- Autism Society of America (ASA): Autism Source™. Assistive technology, camps, respite services, and more.
- Autism Speaks: Resource Guide. Therapists, schools, advocacy, financial and legal services, and more.
- Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support Center (OASIS @ MAAP): Find Local Help and Services. Support groups, camps, schools, recreational activities, and more.
- Also see NCEMCH knowledge path Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Services
Home health care and hospice care
Mental health services
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP): Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder.
- American Psychological Association (APA) Practice Organization: Psychologist Locator.
- Mental Health America: Get Help. Find mental health screening, treatment, and help paying for care.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Find Your Local NAMI. Find education, training, and support programs for families and individuals affected by mental health challenges.
- National Association of Social Workers: Find a Social Worker.
- National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC): Counselor Find.
- National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): Find Help and Support. Telephone: (800) 931-2237.
- National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health: Find a Local Chapter. Find local, family-run organizations that provide resources and advocate for children and adolescents with mental health challenges and their families.
- National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology: Find a Psychologist.
- Postpartum Support International (PSI): Get Help. Find local PSI support coordinators, support groups, telephone support, local events, training, and volunteer opportunities for women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and their families.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Mental Health Treatment Services Locator. Find mental health treatment facilities and programs. Telephone: (800) 662-HELP (4357). (English and Spanish).
- Contact the school psychologist or the director of special services/special education in your local public school.
- Also see NCEMCH knowledge paths Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges in Children and Adolescents, Social and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents, Depression During and After Pregnancy, and Health and Wellness for Adolescent Girls and Women with Mental and Behavioral Health Conditions.
Oral health/dental care
Poison control centers
- Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA). Information about a service that helps qualifying individuals without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need free of charge or at discounted prices. PPA is sponsored by several pharmaceutical research companies. Telephone: (888) 477-2669.
- RxAssist: Patient Assistance Program Center. Information about free or low-cost medicine programs and ways to manage medication costs. Contact information for patient-assistance programs and statewide drug-assistance programs. RxAssist is part of the Center for Primary Care and Prevention at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.
- Together Rx Access. Information about a savings card for eligible individuals and families to receive a discount on prescription products. The Together Rx Access Card is sponsored by several pharmaceutical companies, and it is accepted at many pharmacies nationwide and in Puerto Rico.
- Also see NCEMCH resource brief Medications.
Primary health care
Reproductive health services
- American College of Nurse-Midwives: Find a Midwife.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Physician Directory.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Mammography Facilities. Find FDA-certified mammography facilities.
- International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA): Certified Member's Directory. Find ICEA-certified educators and doulas.
- Lamaze International: Find a Lamaze Childbirth Class.
- Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB): Prenatal Services. Hotline number to help pregnant women and mothers with newborns identify free or low-cost services for themselves and their infants. Telephone: (800) 311-BABY (2229); (800) 504-7081 (Spanish).
- National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP): Contact a Local Program. Find free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for women with low incomes or who are uninsured or underserved.
- National HIV and STD Testing Resources: Find a Testing Site Near You.
- National Perinatal HIV Consultation and Referral Service (Perinatal Hotline). Clinical consultation and advice on the management of HIV in pregnant women, HIV testing in pregnancy, the care of HIV-exposed infants, and a referral to local perinatal HIV specialists. Telephone 24 hours a day: (888) 448-8765.
- Office of Population Affairs: Find a Family Planning Clinic.
- Office of Population Research and Association of Reproductive Health Professionals: Search for an Emergency Contraception Provider.
- Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS): Find a MotherToBaby Affiliate. Use the map to find an affiliate or call the national referral number with questions about exposures to medications, vitamins, supplements, illicit substances, and other common exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Telephone: (866) 626-6847 (English or Spanish).
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA): Find a Health Center.
- Also see NCEMCH knowledge paths Preconception and Pregnancy, Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Depression During and After Pregnancy, and Health and Wellness for Adolescent Girls and Women with Mental and Behavioral Health Conditions, and the resource brief Fertility and Infertility.
Sleep centers and specialists
Speech, language, and hearing services
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call for help 24 hours a day. Telephone: (800) 273-TALK (8255); (888) 628-9454 (Spanish); 800-799-4889 (TDD).
- Trevor Project: Trevor Lifeline. Confidential crisis- and suicide-prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Telephone 24 hours a day: (866) 488-7386. TrevorChat is a confidential and secure online messaging service that provides live help with trained volunteers.
- Also see NCEMCH resource brief Suicide Prevention.
Tobacco, alcohol, and substance use prevention and intervention services
These tools help to locate general education and child-development resources for families.
Community Services Locator: An Online Directory for Finding Community Services for Children and Families, 3rd ed. (May 2012). (Updated: August 2014).
Authors: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., NCEMCH; Rochelle Mayer, Ed.D., National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health
Reviewers: Beth Dworetzky, M.S., Catalyst Center; Shree Mohanty, M.A., M.S., R.D., L.D., Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Region V; Olivia K. Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., NCEMCH.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., NCEMCH.