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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 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 Thursday, March 15, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

How Does the Opioid Epidemic Impact Child Welfare Caseworkers?

Kristi Burre has spent almost 20 years working in public service and child protection, but she’s never seen a greater need to support her caseworkers than she does today.

As Deputy Director of Fairfield County Child and Adult Protective Services in Ohio, Kristi has a front row seat to watch how the opioid epidemic wreaks havoc both inside and outside the agency’s walls.

As a result, she says, “The needs of our families, the needs of our children, and the needs of our system are more critical than they’ve ever been before.”

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Posted Thursday, September 28, 2017 by Rich Bowlen

What Causes Dark Data in Adult Services and Why Do You Need It?

As the population ages, more older adults are accessing services at an alarming rate. Increased demand for services leads to collecting more content in the form of notes, forms, and documents. Every piece of content has the potential to contain critical information about a case, but it gets buried deeper and deeper in the file as new information gets added.

No Adult Protective Services, Mental Health, or Long-Term Care social worker realistically has time to digest and apply the amount of both current and past information available to them, and “dark data”—critical, but hidden information—gets created as a result.

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Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2017 by Rich Bowlen

What Causes Dark Data in Child Welfare? [Infographic]

Finding specific evidence to conclusively support a decision can be overwhelming, if not impossible, for Child Welfare social workers, supervisors, and directors.

Just think about it: if social workers were only responsible for one case, they (in theory) could spend all their time familiarizing themselves with the information in just that one case. Then, when it came time to make an important decision, they could feel confident about the intimate details of the child, family, or situation in question, and know exactly where to find the data they’d need to support their claim. But that’s not the case.

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Posted Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Rich Bowlen

Traverse in Action: Complete Case History Helps Social Workers Achieve Permanence for Children

Angel, a Foster Care & Treatment Social Worker in North Carolina, and Andrea, a Caseworker & Kinship Assessor in Ohio, are working toward the same goal: find the best placement the first time for a child coming into each of their agency’s care.

But critical information about the child—relatives, behavioral issues, or medical history—is often hidden or virtually impossible to retrieve. Without a full picture of the child’s detailed past and present, it’s difficult for Angel and Andrea to find the right placement at the right time, and most importantly, the first time.

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Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2017 by Rich Bowlen

Traverse Case Discovery: Confident Decisions. Safer Children and Families.

Finding the best placement the first time for a child coming into care is every foster care or kinship social worker’s mission. But that’s easier said than done when you only have a partial understanding of the child’s story. What if you could uncover a complete history of previous placements, medications, behavioral issues, and other key information to shape your decision? 

Maybe you’re new to the case or an on call social worker required to immediately find a safe place for a child to stay the night. With little time and a lot at stake, you need a complete understanding of the family and case in a moment’s notice. What are the important medical and emotional needs? What can help minimize trauma? 

Imagine if a child's case file could talk to you. Imagine if you could gain immediate insights from a wealth of historical knowledge to make quick decisions about safety and lessen the hurt just a little.

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Posted Friday, April 21, 2017 by Team Northwoods

The Big Idea Becomes Reality to Help Kids and Caseworkers

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 4 (here are chapter 1, chapter 2, and chapter 3 in case you missed them).

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Posted Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Team Northwoods

Two Guys, One Idea, and the Possibility to Help Hundreds of Kids in Need

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 3 (here are chapter 1 and chapter 2 in case you missed them).

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Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2017 by Team Northwoods

The Social Worker with a Big Mission: Do the Most Good for the Most Kids

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 2 (here’s chapter 1 in case you missed it).

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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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