With school in full swing, parents, teachers and other members of the community may find themselves wondering where to turn for help with things such as tutoring, counseling, after-school programs or even where to volunteer or donate school supplies. In Santa Barbara County, all of these questions can be answered by dialing 2-1-1.

2-1-1 is a free, confidential phone number that connects Santa Barbara County residents to essential community information, services and resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Without 2-1-1, callers can make an average of eight phone calls to different numbers before finding the service they need.

“If community members don’t know where to turn for help or to donate or volunteer, they don’t need to call multiple numbers,” said Bill Batty, executive director of the Family Service Agency, which operates 2-1-1. “2-1-1 call specialists are ready to help provide answers to some of the common issues and questions that come-up regarding children and teens.”

Some of the youth and family resources that can be found by calling 2-1-1 include:

» Educational resources: 2-1-1 operators can help connect parents to tutoring, college-preparation programs and extracurricular programs.

» Childcare: 2-1-1 can help parents find affordable child care and after-school programs.

» Family counseling and support services: Families going through difficult times can find counseling, substance abuse programs and teen pregnancy prevention resources by calling 2-1-1.

» Resources for those who want to help: 2-1-1 can connect community members with volunteer opportunities and schools or programs that need donations.

Click here for more information or call the Family Service Agency at 805.965.1001.

— Debra Roets is director of community relations/communications for the Family Service Agency.