Finding time to sift through research and read up on the important topics and trends impacting human services is easier said than done. That’s why we’re here to help. Our Research Library includes expert content—think whitepapers, reports, presentations, news articles, and other resources—to help you implement the right tools and technology for your agency, and discover new ways to overcome challenges.

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Rich Bowlen's Articles

Rich Bowlen’s goal is and always has been to give his very best day in and day out to do the most good for the most kids. As Director of Protective Services at Northwoods, Rich is dedicated to improving the lives of caseworkers and social workers so they can focus on what they do best: supporting the children, adults, and families that rely on the agency’s care.
Posted Monday, August 31, 2020 by Rich Bowlen

Understanding and Addressing Racial Bias and Equity in Child Welfare [Resources]

How are caseworkers and social workers experiencing and working to better understand racial bias and disparities in child welfare? What are families and recipients of services saying? How can we all support critical services such as child protection while sharing in the effort to shape healthier communities? Now is the time to seek a deeper knowledge of what is and has been happening and why. We’ve been compiling research and resources to gain a shared understanding to work from.

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Posted Thursday, September 5, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

Applying Social ROI to Justify Technology Spending

When child welfare agencies need to convey the value of technology they want to purchase to county administrators and other stakeholders to secure funding and resources, focusing on time-savings and cost-savings isn’t enough. To tell the whole story, it’s imperative to demonstrate social return on investment (SROI) to prove how technology will impact the well-being of the whole community.

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Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

A System in Crisis: Wisconsin Child Protective Services [Wisconsin Counties]

Wisconsin Counties magazine explores how the opioid epidemic is impacting the state's already fragile child welfare system, which one agency director referred to as a “sinking ship.” The article is a powerful reminder that frontline workers and supervisors need more support than ever before.

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Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

The Era of Compliance-Driven Busywork [The Chronicle of Social Change]

Child welfare is in an era of compliance-driven busywork, says The Chronicle of Social Change contributor Vivek Sankaran. Administrative work overshadows the human element of child welfare—the ability to really understand and empathize with each family and their unique situation.

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Posted Monday, March 25, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

New York Raise the Age: 6 Months In

New York’s “Raise the Age” legislation presents impactful changes to youth, their families, and agencies providing services. It also places an immediate and direct burden on frontline caseworkers tasked with developing tailored, comprehensive care plans that meet the rehabilitative needs of each youth. Critical to success is these workers’ ability to quickly assess, evaluate, and share specific information to coordinate the right supports and services.

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Posted Monday, February 11, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

Meeting the Modern Digital Demand [Government Business Council]

Government Business Council’s poll on effective collaboration tools shows that agencies still have a long way to go to provide workers with the right technology to truly be efficient and effective in a modern, mobile world.

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Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

Change and Implementation in Practice [Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative]

The Children's Bureau's Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative has been building up its Change and Implementation in Practice series, a collection of resources that can help child welfare agencies manage change in a meaningful and impactful way.

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Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

When Frontline Workers Say They Can’t Do Prevention Work—LISTEN!

It has become all too common that each new audit or report assessing a Child Welfare system simply reiterates the same findings and recommendations that were already published in previous years. Oregon Public Broadcasting's series, which was sparked by an audit into the state's system published in January, underscores this scenario and highlights several challenges that continue to plague Child Welfare workers across the country.

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Posted Friday, March 16, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

How Much is the Opioid Crisis Costing Governments? [Governing]

Every organization, service, and system feels the relentless demand of the opioid epidemic on their already overburdened, underfunded work. While some of this impact is easy to quantify, most of it is not—making it difficult for states to understand how much they’re spending, or justify additional funds. Governing’s article sheds light on some of these unquantifiable numbers.

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Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

Life After the Big Bang: Exploring Modular, Agile Paths Toward Health and Human Services (HHS) Modernization [Government Business Council]

The quicker human services agencies can deliver services, the quicker people who rely on those services can begin their path to well-being, stabilization, and safety. However, outdated systems and processes often get in the way. Government Business Council’s report explores how agencies can apply technology and modernize service delivery to meet increasingly complex community needs.

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