To promote participation and accessibility, this site serves as the working draft of the next version of Human Services Data Specification and the Human Services Data API.

Our specifications evolve through iterative cycles of proposals, requests for comment, testing, and evaluation. During active development phases, we designate technical leads and ad hoc working groups to facilitate these cycles.

Open Referral’s governance model is described in greater detail in our Project Documentation.

Get Involved

You can contribute to the development of these protocols in several ways:

  • Add annotations to this documentation site using - is an annotation service that is embedded in this site. (See the buttons in the top-right of this page.) Just highlight any text, and then use the pop-up box to add your comments. You will need to sign-up for a free account with

  • Add a new issue or engage with an existing issue on GitHub. We use this issue tracker to schedule all formal updates to the specification. Anyone can view and search the issues already raised. You will need to sign-up for a free GitHub account to comment or create issues.

  • Join our community forum where discussions around the specification are encouraged.

  • Attend our weekly office hours. At noon EST each week (more or less!) the Open Referral leadership convenes to discuss any issues that participants bring up. We coordinate this in Slack; email to request an invite.


You can find upcoming milestones and issues on our development roadmap through the specification’s issue tracker