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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 8, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Answering Your Commonly Asked Cloud Questions for Human Services

I recently read a Forbes article about government and the future of cloud. This line caught my attention:

“For many, cloud adoption is no longer an ‘if,’ it's a ‘when.’ The benefits of the public cloud are becoming too great to ignore.”

While I agree with this statement, I’m not so sure human services is as far along as other government programs. Human services is recognized as a top candidate for cloud migration, but there are still plenty of counties and states still in the process of wrapping their heads around what—if any—cloud-based technologies are right for their needs.

I know many of you still have questions and concerns about the cloud, so this post will help address them.

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Posted Thursday, May 27, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Not Your Average Electronic Document Management System

When you think about the term “electronic document management” in human services, what comes to mind? Converting paper-based case files to digital ones that you simply scan and store in an electronic filing cabinet? Maybe some basic workflows built in to help automate processes?

I’ve worked in document management for almost two decades now. Technology has changed drastically. Most electronic document management systems (EDMS) available to human services agencies have evolved, yet they still haven’t quite kept pace with agencies’ needs.

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Posted Thursday, May 6, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Can County Human Services Agencies Use Funds from the American Rescue Plan for Technology?

The answer is: no, the U.S. Treasury’s Quick Reference Guide does not list technology modernization as an allowable use of funds. But, neither does it list technology modernization as an ineligible use of funds. Since recipients have broad flexibility to determine how to best use this funding to meet the needs of their communities, it may help free up other resources for technology instead. Here’s how.

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Posted Thursday, April 8, 2021 by Lauren Hirka

5 Must-Haves for Mobile Technology in Child Welfare

Child welfare agencies have had to pivot multiple times over the past year to support and sustain a remote workforce, while enabling people to connect and share important information in new and different ways.

Now that working from anywhere has become the norm, agencies must have the right technology in place to mobilize case and client information so that workers can both make sense of it and use it to help others.

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Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2021 by Michael Drabek

Think You're Ready to Buy Human Services Technology? Think Again.

“It’s easy to make things hard. It’s hard to make things easy.”

This adage rings true for human services in many ways, especially when it comes to purchasing and implementing technology. The process can be complicated for anyone, but if your agency overlooks certain key steps or considerations along the way, it becomes that much harder.

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Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Celebrating Social Workers: A Roundup of Resources You Need to Succeed

Social Work Month is one of our favorite months of the year. We love shouting from the rooftops about the superhero work you do to support and empower vulnerable kids, adults, and families. You are a shining light, a beacon of hope for those who need it, and we thank you for all that you do.

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Posted Thursday, February 25, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

When Eligibility Waivers Expire: 5 Steps to Prep Your Agency

When the public health emergency ends and Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF waivers expire, will your human services agency be ready?

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Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
technology is sweet,
but is it really helping you?

You know that technology has the potential to modernize service delivery and drastically alter how you interact with clients. Too often though, human services agencies commit to technology that doesn’t end up delivering on the value it promises. 

Just as two solutions are never quite the same, neither are two vendors that provide them. Even if companies (or their tools) look similar on paper, dig a little deeper and you’ll find subtle nuances in how each one approaches their business. It’s these nuances that will have a significant impact on your project’s success.

Below is a list of questions that can help you separate a strategic partner who truly wants to help your organization grow over time from a run-of-the-mill vendor that’ll move on as soon as your transaction is complete.

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Posted Thursday, January 28, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Answering Your Coronavirus Relief Fund Questions for Human Services

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.

While the Coronavirus Relief Fund established under the CARES Act is meant to provide much needed aid to state and local governments tasked with responding to COVID-19, questions remain about how the money can be properly spent.

We’ve spoken to human services directors in several states about using the Fund to improve telework capabilities for public employees to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions.

Time is of the essence to help your frontline staff continue serving your community safely, so we’ve answered some common questions around how to take advantage of relief funds below.

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Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2021

Over the past five years, this blog post has become a go-to resource for readers looking for information about the best industry conferences to keep up to date on key issues, trends, and topics impacting human services.  

Well, like many things, COVID-19 forced many of the conferences and events we would typically recommend to cancel or transition to virtual events last year. Since things are still uncertain as we head into the new year, many organizations are still figuring out their plans for moving forward. The good news is, a lot of virtual events and learning opportunities have also emerged to fill the void. 


This year may look a little different, but we still want to provide some recommendations to help you find the best events to fill your schedule
in person or virtually. We’ll continue to update this list throughout the year as new information and opportunities become available. 

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