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Our blog isn’t about us. It’s about you. We discuss business challenges and real issues human service agencies and caseworkers face everyday. You’ll find traditional human services software articles about things like document management for human services and social work technology. But you’ll also find inspirational stories to boost caseworkers’ spirits and tools to help agencies find and gain support for technology in human services.

Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by Team Northwoods

Just A Small-Town Guy Wanting to Make a Difference in the World

Here at Northwoods, we’re big believers that our past should always shape our future. This week, we’re sharing a little piece of Northwoods’ historyas told by our executive vice president and chief operating officer, Chris Carlsonto give you a glimpse into where we’ve been and where we’re heading. This is chapter 1.

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Posted Thursday, April 13, 2017 by Greg Tipping

Get the Scoop on Cabarrus County DHS’ Lobby Modernization Success

You may have heard us talk before about the amazing results our friends at Cabarrus County Department of Human Services (DHS) have seen since redesigning their lobby, upgrading technology, and modernizing business processes. Now, we’re also sharing the nitty gritty details behind how Cabarrus County made the project—and its resulting success—happen.

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Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Rich Bowlen

10 Tips on Self-Care for Social Workers

Social workers often spend so much of their time advocating and standing up for children and families that they sometimes overlook the importance of taking care of themselves. While the rewards of being a social worker are plentiful, the job can take its toll – mentally and physically.

Here are 10 simple ways social workers can practice self-care, manage stress and burnout, and boost their well-being even on the most difficult days.

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Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Team Northwoods

Social Workers Share ‘Stories That Stick’ to Celebrate Social Work Month

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) launched this year’s Social Work Month campaign – Social Workers Stand Up! – “to educate the public about contributions of social workers and why the professional title of social worker is so important.” What better way to honor the amazing things social workers accomplish than by sharing the stories of the children and families they stand up for every day?

In honor of Social Work Month 2017, social workers from Carver County Health & Human Services and Sherburne County Health & Human Services told us about the children and families that have stuck with them over the years.

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Posted Thursday, February 9, 2017 by Greg Tipping

Why Human Services Must Be a Lean Machine

Human beings make mistakes. Period. And even though we’re big believers that social workers and caseworkers are super heroes, we know they make mistakes sometimes too.

Ever lost or misplaced a document? Skipped a step when scanning it into the system? Filed it in the wrong place? Overlooked a key piece of information when reviewing a case file?

Mistakes happen. While it may not be likely to eliminate errors completely, there are many changes a human services agency can make to reduce the possibility of errors being made. It all starts with simplifying processesand in doing so, creating less opportunity for errors to occur.

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Posted Monday, February 6, 2017 by Chuck Barber

Here’s How Lenoir County Broke the Social Worker Burnout Cycle in Child Welfare

Keeping case initiation rates high and turnover low are two big priorities for Child Welfare program managers; however, without the right tools and processes in place, both are much easier said than done. Just ask Lenoir County Department of Social Services (DSS).

In 2006, the turnover rate for Lenoir County’s Child Welfare unit was 73% because documentation requirements and emotional stress were taking such a big toll on social workers. Inefficient processes affected case initiation rates too, which hovered below the 95% state standard at 80-85%.

Now, workers have access to office-based and field-based document management solutions designed for Child Welfare that give them more time to focus on engaging clients, building trust, and delivering quality service. As a result, turnover has decreased to 17% and social workers are consistently exceeding the state standard for case initiation with a 97% rate.

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Posted Sunday, January 15, 2017 by Rich Bowlen

Dark Data is Hiding in Your Child Welfare Case Files

It is unrealistic for anyone in child welfare to remain constantly up to date on every case, especially when so much of the information is hiding in the dark. Yet, everyone expects the child welfare social worker to do just that.

Think about it: the average case file contains over a thousand documents, or approximately four to five thousand pages of informationand it's being added to every day by countless entities. On top of that, workers are managing an average 24-31 cases each.

How can a worker be expected to find the right information as quickly as necessary when they have to sift through so much information to find it?

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Posted Thursday, January 12, 2017 by Team Northwoods

7 Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2017

Two key themes arise whenever we talk to customers about how they stay up-to-date on the key issues and trends impacting their agency and community:

  1. Peer conversations and idea-sharing
  2. Industry research and best practices

One of the best ways to get a double dose of both? Carving out time to attend conferences and events that not only have really amazing programming/sessions, but also build in plenty of time for attendees to network and discuss how they’re addressing key opportunities and challenges.

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Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2016 by Team Northwoods

Top 6 Northwoods Blog Posts of 2016

Readers, rejoice!

It’s that time of year where we recap the can’t-miss blog posts of the last 365 days.

Whether you’re looking for customer success stories, technology adoption tips, or inspiration to keep on file for the days when you need to recharge, this list has got you covered.

So grab your reading glasses, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and catch up on the top 6 Northwoods blog posts of 2016. Happy reading!

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Posted Thursday, December 8, 2016 by Team Northwoods

50 Holiday Gifts for Human Services Workers

'Tis the season to celebrate and say thank you to the social workers in your life.

Whether you're shopping for a friend, family member or colleague, we've curated 50 gift ideas designed with social workers in mind.

Check out our Pinterest board, A Holiday Gift Guide for Human Services, for more inspiration, or keep reading for a sampling of ideas to get you started. Happy holidays!

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