DCBF's Strategic Framework

We are committed to the vision that residents of the District of Columbia have equal access to justice, regardless of income. DCBF's vision is to transform the civil legal aid network, working closely with all stakeholders, so District residents have a fair and equal legal experience. We will do this by:

Engaging all stakeholders in the work

DCBF will work with existing and identify new partners to support the civil legal aid network by providing data, identifying needs, sharing observations, serving as a sounding board, and developing solutions to meet the community civil legal aid needs.

Identifying the unmet civil legal needs

The civil legal aid needs of District residents are vast. DCBF will identify barriers to accessing services by those who need them most, and support the development and launch of a coordinated intake and referral system to improve access to civil legal aid services. DCBF will also work with its stakeholders to use data generated by this system and engage the larger community to identify community priorities.

Infusing racial justice and equity in our work

DCBF will evolve its practices and culture to learn, reflect, unlearn, and change its practices in the pursuit of justice. Initially, DCBF will study best practices to learn about racial justice and equity initiatives. DCBF will also explore local partnerships where there are opportunities to align efforts as it develops a plan to integrate racial justice and equity initiatives.

Funding with intention

DCBF will identify and articulate what it wants to achieve through its grantmaking. By working with its stakeholders and piloting a small number of interventions that address the biggest needs, DCBF will have a better understanding of effective strategies and make more strategic grantmaking decisions. DCBF will adapt its investments as additional data and feedback is gathered, and experience dictates what can and should be scaled.

Demonstrating that people who need services are getting them

By integrating evaluation into every aspect of its work, DCBF will position itself to describe how it is changing and improving the lives of District residents, as well as identify areas in need of improvement. DCBF will generate data on program delivery, measure the effectiveness of services, study outcomes, determine the level of impact, and share those findings with our partners and stakeholders. 

 

Coordinated Intake and Referral (read the full plan here)

As a part of the network transformation effort, the DC Bar Foundation contracted with Joseph Schieffer of A2J Tech to develop a plan for improved coordination in the delivery of civil legal services in the District. Joseph has experience in implementing large scale legal services technology projects. In December 2020, Joseph presented a plan. 

 

The plan was developed with the input of more than 30 members of our community, including legal services providers, social services providers and key people in the DC access to justice community. These conversations explored past efforts to improve coordination in the civil legal aid network (including previous efforts funded by the Foundation), as well as successful efforts that currently exist in the areas of debt collection, eviction defense, family law, and victim recovery.

 

We are at the beginning of an exciting new effort to improve the delivery of civil legal aid in the District and narrow the access to justice gap in our community. The project plan is a starting point for how a coordinated intake and referral program could be implemented in DC. We encourage you to read the plan, and we welcome your feedback and input. Please reach out to DC Bar Foundation CEO Kirra Jarratt at jarratt@dcbarfoundation.org.