Who We Are

Independent Contractors

At the Immigration Hardship Center (IHC), we utilize independent contractors specialized in social work and mental health disciplines to provide forensic mental health evaluations and psycho-social reports.

We believe that your clients need access to the best forensic mental health services we have to offer. Our independent contractors use their experience and skills in social work and mental health to provide systematic summaries of a client’s current functioning, mental status, background and social history into their psycho-social reports. These psychosocial reports support your client’s case by humanizing their experience. We are here to combine our extensive backgrounds and, skills in social work and mental health, and a passion for justice in our psycho-social evaluations.

By offering our independent contractors’ expertise in the field of social work and mental health, we believe that not only would the client receive a better legal outcome but that their psychological well-being is fully cared for as well. At FACTR’s IHC program, in addition to the forensic psycho-social evaluations we provide to our clients, we also provide them with case management support and counseling, as needed. Our individual contractors come from a wide range of backgrounds. All contractors receive training in trauma assessment and therapy. Together, our contractors cover multiple languages including Russian, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Spanish, and Vietnamese. We provide our services for the following types of forensic evaluations: 

  • Hardship Waiver Applications
  • U-Visa Applications
  • T-Visa Applications
  • Asylum Applications
  • Immigrants in the criminal Justice system

Zoya Girshfeld, Clinical Social Worker

Zoya Girshfeld has been with FACTR for 7 years. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice. She speaks English and Russian. In 1997, she graduated from Paralegal Institute of Santa Clara University and worked as a paralegal. She has experience doing forensic evaluations. She provides services in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County.

Mehriban Mammadova, MSW

Mehriban Mammadova, MSW is from Baku, Azerbaijan. In 2001, she became the winner of the George Soros Foundation’s Open Society grant scholarship program to study Social Work in the U.S. She was admitted to George Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis, MO in 2001 and got her Master’s degree in Social Work in 2003 with a specialization in Social and Economic Development. From September 2003 to June 2005 Mehriban Mammadova helped her country, Azerbaijan, to open a Social Work department in one of the country’s major universities, Baku State University.

In 2005 Mehriban Mammadova got a job offer from Golden Castle Adult Day Health Care Center in Palo Alto, CA for a MSW position. Mehriban Mammadova was promoted to Program Director in the same agency in 2009. She has extensive experience counseling, assessment and case management for immigrant adults from many different countries.

Mehriban Mammadova is fluent in Azerbaijani, Turkish, Russian and English. Mehriban Mammadova has been with FACTR since 2011, and has contributed to FACTR’s program development for elders in two FACTR programs, the Mindful Aging Project and a newly emerging multicultural project, called Grandma’s House. She is one of the Forensic Contractors for the Immigration Hardship Center (IHC).

RaQuel Neal, LCSW

RaQuel Neal, LCSW joined FACTR in August 2017 and has worked with historically oppressed and marginalized communities for over 20 years in the Alameda County/Bay Area. She actively advocates on behalf of under-served and vulnerable populations, and provides training, consultation, and coaching on best practices for government agencies, law enforcement, non-profit organizations, schools, and college universities.

Daria Sievers, clinical and Forensic Social Worker

Daria joined FACTR as a Forensic evaluator in April 2018. She is a Licensed Clinical and Forensic Social Worker with a private practice in San Rafael, CA. serving clients from Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda counties and San Francisco.

Daria comes to FACTR with extensive experience as a trauma therapist and forensic evaluator having completed over 125 evaluations for survivors of serve human rights abuses seeking asylum, U and T visas, Hardship Waivers and intimate partner violence assessments.

Daria received specialized training as an expert witness at physicians for human Rights, and Health Right International Human Rights, and completed the Clinical Training Program at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as professional programs in Trauma-Informed interventions, and the study of Grief and Loss at UC Berkeley. She is a credential elementary school teacher and a member of the Marin County Coalition to End Human Trafficking and the Marin Country Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence Network. Fond of multidisciplinary team collaboration, Daria has a special interest in program development, tainting and education. She speaks conversational Spanish.

Ronda Swenson, Mitigation Specialist

Ronda Swenson works as a Mitigation Specialist and she has worked in Criminal Defense for almost 20 years on serious felonies and death penalty cases. She also has worked for over 10 years as a Social Worker / Investigator on Juvenile Dependency cases. She has an MA and credential in Sociology, BA in Sociology and AA in Criminal Justice. 

She has completed extensive units towards her Ph.D. and is certified in Forensic Social Work by NOFSW. She has worked for over 3 years with the Northern California Innocence Project and has experience in Immigration and Family Law as well.  

Jenny Vo, Clinical Social Worker

Jenny Vo, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has a Bachelor and Masters of Social Work from San Jose State University. She joined FACTR in April, 2018. She has 25yrs of broad Social Work experience in Hospital, Mental Health, Child Welfare, Substance Abuse, Law Enforcement, and psychotherapy Private Practice.

Jenny’s focus is providing holistic, individualized, compassionate, and patient-centered psychosocial services and psychotherapy to individuals through a trauma-informed lens with the goal to enhance the individual’s quality of life and functioning. Jenny’s area of specialization is IPV, childhood and adult trauma, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and working with marginalized and immigrant populations.

She speaks fluent Vietnamese. She speaks fluent Vietnamese. She provides evaluations in the FACTR designated offices or in the client’s home or a mutual agreed to location between herself and the client.

She provides her service in Santa Clara County (and willing to serve in Alameda County if needed or if the client requires a Vietnamese Speaking LCSW evaluator).