The design and implementation of immigration case management systems will vary among immigration programs since every program is different. However, a program whose case management system works for staff members and meets the needs of clients are the most effective. Such system takes into account the population served, types of services offered, level and experience of staff, agency’s mission and financial situation to name a few. For organizations providing VAWA immigration services, you need to consider additional factors in your case management system for handling VAWA cases. This may include more time for intakes, interviews and application preparation, a process for collaborating with domestic violence providers to provide application support and include additional confidentiality measures to protect the client, client information and the staff. Such confidentiality measures may include having a separate interview room for VAWA clients, locking VAWA cases in a separate filing cabinet and limiting access of VAWA cases to those who are working on them, prohibiting staff from taking VAWA cases outside of the office other than for interviews and hearings and literally having an exit strategy for staff if the abuser came to the office. Some of this is discussed in the article, “Considerations for Immigration Programs Working on VAWA Self-Petitions and U Visa Cases” listed below.
Although there are differences among agencies in their case management policies and procedures, every agency should have certain case management components that are essential and non-negotiable. This applies to all agencies regardless of its size, age or type of services offered.
Whether you are developing or revising your existing case management system, a good starting point is to review the major components of immigration case management system. The documents below especially the chapter from CLINIC’s Managing an Immigration Program manual entitled, “Case Management Systems” provides a good overview of the major components of case management system. Hopefully, the resources below will help your office develop a case management system rooted in best practices.