Editor's note: The deadline to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund has been extended to Dec. 30, 2021, and this post has been updated to reflect that change and additional resources have been added.
The aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact human services agencies for the foreseeable future. As they do, we’re monitoring industry news, trends, and research reports to bring you the most helpful resources for maintaining telework, supporting your workers, and keeping up with service demand, while prioritizing safety and complying with public health emergency measures.
We want this link to be your one-stop shop for COVID-19 resources, but we recognize there’s a lot of content and information available. We’ve organized links by topic and you can use this navigational menu to jump down to the section that’s most relevant to you:
- Normalizing and empowering long-term telework strategies (jump to section)
- Modernizing technology to meet increasing service demands (jump to section)
- Funding technology projects in response to the public health emergency (jump to section)
- Using technology to support vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic (jump to section)
On normalizing and empowering long-term telework strategies:
- COVID-19’s Lessons for the New Government Workplace [Governing]—Shows how public-sector employees are adapting to remote work, but also reveals concerns that state and local government employers need to keep in mind.
- COVID-19 Workforce Needs Assessment (WNA): Cross-site report for workforce excellence public child welfare sites [National Child Welfare Workforce Institute]—Summarizes the impact of COVID-19 on the child welfare workforce and what they said would help the most. For example: many workers said they “were frustrated by the continued need to print, fax, submit, or file documents as this required them to go to the office to accomplish those tasks, further heightening public health and safety concerns." View a related infographic.
- Planning for the Resumption of Normal State Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Basic Health Program (BHP) Operations Upon Conclusion of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)]—Letters from CMS emphasize some changes ahead. The first is to State Health Officials to start anticipating an end to many program flexibilities and the second is to the Medicaid, CHIP, and BHP vendor community to help states plan for a return to normal operations.
- Continuity After COVID-19: Rising to the Challenge of Remote Work [GovLoop]—Insights about what preparative measures agencies had in place before COVID-19 emerged and how to ensure your workforce feels supported when another crisis hits. (GovLoop’s Community Pulse is another great resource on this topic.)
- Managing Remote Teams in Child Welfare [Northwoods]—Resources to help child welfare caseworkers teleworking, working remotely, and striving to keep kids and families safe.
- How to Protect Remote Workers’ Productivity and Performance [Route Fifty]—Offers guidance to help remote teams minimize burnout by staying connected and collaborative despite physical separation.
- How to Enable a Remote Workforce with 6 Digital Tools [Hyland]—Suggest essential tools (think mobile capture, electronic forms, and automated workflows) that government agencies should consider to rise above current challenges and support a remote workforce for an extended period.
On modernizing technology to meet increasing service demands:
- How to Mitigate Risk, Maximize Results with New Human Services Technology [Northwoods]—Demonstrates the various ways human services organizations can dip their toes in the water before committing to a long-term technology solution.
- Brunswick County Enables Social Work from Anywhere with Traverse [Northwoods]—Explains how these social workers will be ready for the inevitable influx of child abuse and neglect reports.
- The Time is Now: Invest in Technology Modernization [GovTech]—Lays out why technology should be prioritized in future government budgets, plus the risk of maintaining the status quo.
- Digital Government More Critical Than Ever [Government Navigator]—Highlights why a digital strategy should be at the core of government agencies’ continuity plans. (Login required).
- Amid Pandemic, Economic Uncertainty, 5 Promising Technologies for Government [Techwire]—Provides examples of how government organizations are leveraging robotic process automation, electronic signatures, and other technology to improve processes and customer service.
- Navigating the Next Normal: A Resource Guide for State and Local IT Leaders [Center for Digital Government]—Explores how to realign IT priorities to match post-COVID realities and how to adjust longer-term strategic planning to support evolving priorities.
On funding technology projects in response to the public health emergency:
- Answering Your Coronavirus Relief Fund Questions for Human Services [Northwoods]—Guidance on how to identify emergency/relief funds available in your state and how to ensure your needs are accounted for. View related infographic.
- Getting the Green Light: How to Justify Spending on Technology for Human Services [Northwoods]—Discusses how to present a comprehensive and compelling business case for buying new technology, including demonstrating ROI, non-quantifiable benefits, and the social/community impact of the purchase.
- How to Buy Human Services Technology (Even During a Crisis) [Northwoods]—Covers key considerations, challenges, and questions agencies will likely have during the technology buying process.
- 5 Technology Budget Tips for Hard Times [GovTech]—Shares how agencies have overcome budget shortfalls in the past and what lessons can be applied today.
- Funding streams for child welfare agencies [KPMG]—Summarizes COVID-19 funding streams and flexibilities that child welfare organizations may be able to leverage to fill their current gaps.
- CARES Act Funding for Remote Operations [GovLoop]—Provides examples of how the public sector can tap into CARES Act funds to enable remote work and enhance community engagement.
- Prioritizing Technology in Human Services and Preparing for What May Be Next [Northwoods]—Helps you understand why and how to invest in technology now to be better prepared for what’s to come next.
On how agencies can use technology to support the vulnerable communities who continue to be impacted:
- How Mesa County is Using Traverse to Strengthen Families: A Case Study [Northwoods]—Shows how amid COVID-19, caseworkers can provide timely services and identify natural supports for at-risk families.
- Investing in Human Services for a Strong and Equitable Economic Recovery [American Public Human Services Association]—APHSA's Special Statement calls on industry leaders and policymakers to address a broad range of challenges faced by vulnerable communities and the agencies that serve them.
- Food Stamp Use Could Skyrocket with Loss of Enhanced Unemployment Benefits [Route Fifty]—Predicts an influx in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications and underscores why agencies need the right technology to meet continually increasing demand. (APHSA also released a special statement on equipping agencies with tools and support to effectively provide these services.)
- 3 Ways to Get Benefits to the Families that Need Them [Governing]—Summarizes how a "no wrong door" policy could provide an immense opportunity by allowing people to automatically gain access to an array of programs if they've been found eligible for one of them.
- Investing in Essential Technology and Remote Connection for Child Welfare [GovLoop, Northwoods, and AWS]—Explores how COVID-19 exposed long-standing issues with remote work and connectivity in child welfare and how the right technology can transform the way agencies operate.
- Envisioning the New Normal: Paving a Path Through Technology [Northwoods]—Our Policy & Practice article shares a new vision for how public benefits are provided by putting clients at the center of economic assistance solutions and opening up multiple access points to services.