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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, June 5, 2018 by Rich Diers

Is Your Ecomonic Assistance Program Using the Right Document Capture Tools?

Economic assistance caseworkers face constant deadlines to process applications and redeterminations.

However, outdated, inefficient document management tools and processes often get in the way, which can delay clients from receiving the benefits they need.

This could leave them feeling frustrated and vulnerable. Of course, that’s the opposite of what caseworkers are aiming to do.

The good news? The right technology can help alleviate these problems, allowing caseworkers to serve their clients quickly and professionally and start them on the path to stability and well-being.

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Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2018 by Rupam Chokshi

5 Ways a System of Engagement Benefits Child Welfare

Modernizing to the new Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) creates a major opportunity for child welfare organizations to apply innovative solutions to overcome systematic barriers.

However, too many states and agencies may still view CCWIS as the next Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) with little change.

Where SACWIS was more of a “one-size-fits-all” model, CCWIS allows agencies to tailor their IT needs to align with their unique program requirements.

This opens the door for child welfare organizations to consider next-generation technology, like a system of engagement, that revolutionizes how social workers deliver services and interact with clients.

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Posted Monday, May 7, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

Traverse: Transforming the Way Child Welfare and Adult & Aging Agencies Work with Families to Improve Outcomes

"I'm big on efficiencies and using technology. If you're not using the latest and greatest software, you're behind." – Justin Zmyewski, Houston County (Minnesota) Commissioner

For Northwoods, the “latest and greatest software” means something that’s designed to work the way child welfare and adult & aging agencies work.

That’s why we created Traverse®—a content collection and case discovery solution that empowers child welfare and adult & aging agencies to make informed, confident decisions about safety.

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Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Building Software to Solve Social Problems (Q&A with Northwoods Chief Technology Officer Don Abney)

Don Abney, Northwoods’ Chief Technology Officer, has spent the last 20 years developing and delivering technology services across several industries. He’s also one of the smartest humans you’ll ever meet.

Don recently sat down with our Business Development team to answer some questions about how Product Delivery (PD) at Northwoods continues to evolve and innovate to meet customers' needs.

His answers were just too good not to share!

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Posted Monday, January 15, 2018 by Team Northwoods

8 Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2018

New year, new opportunities!

If one of your goals for 2018 is to keep your finger on the pulse of key issues, trends, and topics impacting your agency and/or community, attending one or two industry conferences throughout the year is a great way to get started.

We've vetted and attended a lot of conferences over time, and we like to start each new year with a list of recommendations.

This list represents events that not only have amazing programming and speakers, but also build in time for attendees to network, share ideas, and discuss how they're addressing key opportunities and challenges.

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Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by Team Northwoods

Top 7 Northwoods Blog Posts of 2017

It's that time again! As each year comes to a close, we like to recap the top blog posts from the last 365 days. If you're a new reader or subscriber, this is your chance to catch up on all the good stuff you might have missed.

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Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2017 by Aaron Caldwell

A Customer Success Story: Troubleshooting Technology Problems in Human Services

When the average worker has technical issues, she feels frustrated and productivity dips. When a human services caseworker faces technical issues, it affects her ability to serve thousands of families who rely on services like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid.

This is the story of one Ohio county’s Department of Job & Family Services (DJFS) that relies on the Northwoods Support Center (NSC) to keep the system running at peak performance so workers can focus solely on helping clients.

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Posted Thursday, October 19, 2017 by Rich Diers

What Cognitive Search Means for Social Services

Not too long ago, we were talking to a protective services caseworker who summed up one of the most common issues we hear from customers—not enough time to explore, digest, and understand critical information about a case before they can actually start managing it.

"I'm new and I'm getting cases that are transferred from another ongoing worker. A lot of my time is just spent trying to understand the case. I feel like I'm wasting a lot of time I could be doing actual interactions or providing services for the family."

We also heard from a Child Welfare program manager one of the biggest risks of not having all the critical information related to a case in front of you when making a decision: "Trying to serve on memory is dangerous in our line of work."

What do these two scenarios have in common? They both underscore the importance of having critical, relevant information in a digestible format at your fingertips when serving families. Cognitive search is an emerging trend that’s helping social services agencies do just that.

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Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by Michael Littman

4 Tips for Financing Human Services Technology Projects

Human services agencies face several hurdles when it comes to investing in technology.

One of the most significant is ever rising costs to manage—and ever decreasing dollars to fund—expensive technology-related projects.

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Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2017 by Greg Tipping

Pitfalls of Relying on Too Much Paper in Human Services

Going paperless is a priority for plenty of Human Services agencies, yet many organizations lack funding, resources, or proper justification to invest in technology and are forced to continue relying on time-consuming, labor-intensive, paper-based file systems and processes.

For those readers that fall into the latter, consider this: maintaining the status quo could actually be doing more harm than good—and costing more—to your agency in the long run.

Below are five risks to think about if your agency relies too much on paper documents and manual processes.

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