Evaluation Network Policies and Procedures

The Evaluation Network prioritizes evaluation requests for applicants who are represented pro-bono in their immigration case(s). Please be advised that during this pandemic period of reduced volunteer capacity and high demand, we may be unable to consider requests for low-bono or paying clients. If you would like to receive more information about alternative, reduced-cost psychological evaluation services for a low-bono or paying client, or to check in with our team about capacity for low-bono/paying client referrals, please contact us at evalnetteam@lcsnw.org. The network also prioritizes referrals for Survivors of Torture (SoT) and those who have a connection to the city of Seattle (live, work, or go to school in the city limits). At this time we are not able to prioritize T- and U-Visa applicants.

Evaluations requests must be submitted by the representing attorney or legal team. The Evaluation Network is unable to accept evaluation requests submitted by the asylum seeker/applicant, family member, or community representative. Evaluation requests submitted by pro-bono or low-bono legal representatives are prioritized. Applications for paid asylum seeker claims may be considered for unfilled evaluation openings. Please note that we are unable to evaluate clients who have been convicted of violent crimes.  

Evaluation Network Roster System and Evaluation Referrals

A referral is not a guarantee that an evaluation will occur. After receipt and approval, a staff member will try to schedule the requested assessment(s) with available and appropriate volunteer evaluator(s). Requests for expedited evaluations may be considered if a volunteer has an unfilled opening. Exact wait times may vary, please contact The Evaluation Network Support Team (evalnetteam@lcsnw.org, 206-806-1061) for updates.

Beginning 12/17/2021, the Evaluation Network will implement a new set of procedures to streamline the evaluation process. We believe this process will increase efficiency and ensure that all evaluation requests are addressed in a timely manner, in addition to providing more transparency for all our legal partners.

Evaluation Timeline Procedures

For evaluations where a deadline or hearing date IS provided on the request:

      The Evaluation Network Team will prioritize requests by deadline. We will make every attempt to match requests to evaluators such that the deadline is met. If we are unable to make this match or meet this deadline, we will let the requesting agency or attorney know as soon as possible.

For evaluations where a deadline or hearing date IS NOT provided on the request:

      All requests will be entered onto the Evaluation Roster by date of request. This date will be the day we receive the complete request. Typically, this will be the date that the Evaluation Request Form is submitted. If the request is incomplete, it will be the date we receive all the required information.

      Every week, the Evaluation Network Support Team will meet to review open requests on the roster. They will attempt to match these requests to evaluators, but priority will be given to cases with upcoming deadlines.

      After two months on the roster, requests without deadlines will be assigned an internal deadline. For the next month, these cases will be elevated to top priority, alongside requests with hearing dates or external deadlines. We will make every attempt to match these requests to evaluators, including personalized reach-outs to evaluators who may be a good fit for the case.

      If a request has been on our roster for three months (including the month of high priority match attempts), and we are still unable to make a match, we will refer the case back to the requesting agency or attorney to let them know we will not be able to provide an evaluation at this time. This allows the applicant/legal representative time to pursue other options if necessary. This system ensures that all requests are processed and cleared every quarter. We hope this procedure gives our partners firm deadlines that they can plan around and helps ensure we fulfill evaluation requests with our limited evaluator resources in a fair and efficient manner.

Interpretation

It is first and foremost the referring law firm’s responsibility to provide independent interpretation for all evaluations (interpreter cannot be a family member close friend of the client or a law firm staff member). If you do not have any such resources or would require the applicant to pay for the interpretation, The Evaluation Network may be able to arrange an interpreter.

Evaluation Appointment Expectations

Once an evaluation appointment is confirmed, it is up to the attorney to ensure that the applicant arrives on time to the appointment. If the applicant needs to reschedule the assessment, we ask that they notify The Evaluation Network Support Team at least 24 hours beforehand. If the applicant is running late, we ask that they call and let The Evaluation Network Support Team know as soon as possible. Out of consideration for our long waitlist, our evaluators’ very limited time and availability, and the considerable fees associated with canceled interpretation requests, we may not be able to reschedule missed evaluations. If an applicant misses a rescheduled appointment, they will be removed from our queue to ensure that other applicants can be supported.

Draft and Feedback Expectations

Completion of an evaluation appointment does not guarantee that the volunteer will draft an affidavit. Volunteers reserve the right to decline or retract their affidavits at any point.  

In an effort to maintain the independence and integrity of the evaluations, we ask that no sentences or information be directly added into the affidavit text by anyone other than the evaluator. This being said, conscientious feedback is encouraged. We ask, however, that all questions and recommendations be clearly indicated with appropriate context given so that the volunteer evaluators can adequately assess the suggestions.  Volunteer evaluators have the right to accept or decline any recommendations in accordance with their clinical and ethical judgment. 

After the assessment, medical volunteer evaluators typically draft their affidavit within 2-3 weeks and psychological volunteer evaluators within 10-12 weeks.  The working draft will then be forwarded to the legal representative(s) for review; we ask that legal teams respond with any feedback, edit suggestions, etc. within ten business days. This will help ensure that the evaluators are able to respond to questions, sign/finalize documents, etc. within a timely manner. Due to the volunteers’ limited availability, we are unable to accommodate last minute or delayed edits or signature requests.

As of March 2021, referrals for new evaluations cannot be accepted until affidavit draft review for other evaluation recipients on the referring legal representative’s case load are up-to-date. Many of our volunteers will not consider new evaluations until they have finalized previous evaluations; in the interest of providing our services to as many applicants as possible, timely draft review is prioritized for all parties.

Communication with Volunteers

In an effort to protect the independence and objectivity of our volunteers, we ask that attorneys not directly contact any Evaluation Network volunteers without their expressed permission. This includes, but is not limited to: requesting a paid or volunteer evaluation, providing case information, providing feedback on an affidavit, or enquiring about a non-asylum evaluation. We ask that all requests be submitted through the Evaluation Network (see below for more details). If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback, please contact the Evaluation Network Support Team (evalnetteam@lcsnw.org, 206-806-1061).

HIPAA & Security

The Evaluation Network uses Virtru, a free email encryption software, when emailing documents and protected health information. Virtru is a free service and is available for public use. For more information, see https://www.virtru.com/secure-email/. You are not required to use Virtu, but we do ask you to send documents that contain private client information via Virtru or another HIPAA compliant system.

Contact the Evaluation Network Leadership Team For More Information:

Refugees Northwest Evaluation Network
4040 S 188th Street, Suite #300
SeaTac, WA 98188

Email Us: evalnetteam@lcsnw.org

To contact us regarding any emergent inquiries, please reach out to:
Program Coordinator, Laura Kozuszek (she/her)
Cell (206) 806-1061
Email: lkozuszek@lcsnw.org