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Are you interested in hosting DC's Coordinated Intake and Referral System?

The DC Bar Foundation, in partnership with the DC civil legal aid community and other stakeholders, has been working diligently to develop Coordinated Intake and Referral (CIR)—a system that will create a streamlined process for DC residents to access legal aid through a single phone number or website. Conversations about the need for a system of this nature have been going on for decades, but in 2020, the Foundation began to spearhead the current effort—and since then, we have made significant progress in the development of the system.


Now, we are seeking an organization to host the full CIR System.


Building a CIR System—the last four years

To give you some background and context on how we got here, DC has more than 50 legal services providers in the District, and finding the appropriate assistance can be challenging for DC residents. Often, the greatest barrier to people getting the help they need is not knowing where to go. With so many providers with different criteria for services, residents often face difficulties trying to find a provider; because of this, many never reach the door of a legal professional who can help.


The CIR System aims to help address and alleviate these issues. Since 2020, with the help of the legal aid community and others, we have met major milestones along the way in this project’s journey, including:


  • Contracting with A2J Tech (our technology partner for CIR) in the summer of 2020 and having initial conversations with more than 30 people from the legal services, social services, and other key sectors to conceptualize and develop the CIR Concept Paper (also known as the project plan) that provided the foundation for how CIR could be implemented in DC.

  • Releasing a Request for Design Feedback and Input in fall 2021, where we asked respondents to comment on all aspects of the design and operation of the CIR System. We received 21 responses and released a report based on this data (a link to the report is below). 

  • Hosting focus groups with DC residents and intake workers to learn more about what they need in the CIR System.

  • Creating a new, regularly updated provider database that lists all DC civil legal aid providers to make finding providers for a specific issue easier.


Most recently, last fall, we created a pilot working group, which includes members from the civil legal aid community, to help with decision-making regarding the launch of the CIR System pilot. The working group has worked collaboratively to determine referral protocols, answer questions about case routing, establish shared definitions, and solidify other key details about the CIR System. The pilot is set to launch in June and will last throughout the summer, with Neighborhood Legal Services Program serving as the pilot host. The thought leadership and collaboration of the pilot working group were essential to the success of the pilot launch. We plan to utilize a similarly cooperative and iterative approach with the host of the CIR System.


Consider Submitting a Statement of Interest

As we prepare for the pilot launch in June and a full launch in late 2024 to early 2025, we are seeking an organization that would be interested in hosting the full CIR System. If your organization would be interested in hosting, we are accepting non-binding, informal statements of interest. We are looking for an organization to come to the table and be a thought partner with us in this process. We want to continue to build collaboratively, which has been important to the Foundation throughout this process. This invitation is open to all organizations— both legal aid and those beyond with other areas of expertise. To express your organization’s interest, email innovation@dcbarfoundation.org by June 28. 


To help inform your decision, I invite you to read more about the CIR project and the work we have completed thus far:  


General Resources


CIR-Related Evaluation Reports


 



Thank you for considering this request. This is a monumental project that will have a monumental impact—on DC residents and the legal aid community. Our goal as a Foundation is to ensure everyone has a fair and just legal experience, and part of that is making sure that people who need legal assistance have equitable access—the CIR System helps create some of that equity. We are excited to partner with you!

 

Warm Regards,

Kirra L. Jarratt

Chief Executive Officer

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