[District of Columbia, September 19, 2022] — The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) announces the release of its second report related to Designing a Coordinated Intake and Referral (CIR) System for Civil Legal Aid in the District of Columbia. This report highlights the input we received from legal services partners and other system stakeholders about the design of a Coordinated Intake and Referral System in the District of Columbia.
With more than 60 legal services providers in the District, finding the appropriate help can be a challenge. The greatest barrier to people getting help is not knowing where to go—there are too many providers and no clear directory or resource for finding them. Due to the constant hurdles, many people never reach the door of a legal services provider. These challenges also affect lawyers and other professionals who need to refer their clients to the proper organization.
To address this problem, DCBF is spearheading the development of a CIR system in the District of Columbia. This System will be a streamlined process for DC residents to access legal aid through a single phone number or website. It will not replace existing intake structures; it will supplement them.
Part of the development process for the new CIR system includes getting feedback from legal services providers, clients, and other stakeholders. To engage the legal community, last fall DCBF released a Request for Design Feedback and Input (RDFI). The RDFI gave interested parties a chance to provide feedback on the proposal and offer suggestions for the design, functionality, and implementation of the System.
A total of 21 responses were submitted to the RDFI, including responses from local legal organizations, existing collaborative bodies related to access to justice, and other interested parties who operate within the DC legal services community.
“We understand that we cannot complete this project or have it be a success without the help and input of every stakeholder in this system,” says Kirra L. Jarratt, CEO of the DC Bar Foundation. “This is a massive undertaking, and it is imperative that during this process we hear directly from organizations so that we can build a CIR system that is functional, efficient, and accessible. We are thankful for the recommendations we received and will use them to help us build a Coordinated Intake and Referral system that will be transformative and impactful.”
While respondents did not suggest that a CIR system will eliminate all the access to justice issues, they overwhelmingly feel positive about its potential impact and believe a single point of entry for referrals will benefit community members. Suggestions were framed to help create an effective and user-centered System that prioritizes accessibility, employs high-quality navigators, connects applicants to a variety of legal services, creates a positive user experience, makes accurate referrals, and is shaped by guidance from community members whom the System is designed to benefit.
To read a full copy of Designing a Coordinated Intake and Referral (CIR) System for Civil Legal Aid in the District of Columbia: Input From Legal Services Providers and Allied Organizations, please click this link. To read the first report, Designing a Coordinated Intake and Referral (CIR) System for Civil Legal Aid in the District of Columbia: Client and Community Member Input, click this link. To learn more about the DC Bar Foundation and Coordinated Intake and Referral, please visit the CIR section on our website.
About the DC Bar Foundation: We are committed to transforming DC's legal aid network so that all District residents have a fair and equal legal experience. Through our network approach, we actively work to bring together all invested stakeholders to identify and address the unmet civil legal needs of DC residents who are low-income, create solutions with a critical eye for racial justice and equity, and demonstrate meaningful impact.