Community Services Locator

Knowledge Path

An Online Directory for Finding Community Services for Children and Families


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.

Child care

Early childhood education

Financial assistance for child care

Education/Special Needs

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.

Family Support

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

Community violence prevention and intervention services

Dating violence prevention and intervention services

Domestic violence prevention and intervention services

Faith-based support services

Family support groups

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

Financial Support

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.
  • 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
    Medical encyclopedia
    Medical dictionary
    Health news
    Health directories
    Video clips, tutorials, health calculators, and other tools on common conditions, tests, and treatments
    Health information in multiple languages


Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children's hospitals


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

  • 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

Public health

Reproductive health services

Sleep centers and specialists

Speech, language, and hearing services

Suicide prevention

  • 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.