Blog

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 Friday, July 29, 2022 by Team Northwoods

When Eligibility Waivers Expire: 5 Steps to Prep Your Agency

When the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends and Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, and TANF waivers expire, will your human services agency be ready? The PHE was just extended through October and may remain in place through the end of 2022. Either way, the impact of the PHE ending will be felt soon.

When states begin to resume eligibility reviews, up to 15 million people could lose their current Medicaid or CHIP coverage through a process called “the unwinding.” (Also worth noting: around one in four Americans are currently enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP.) At the same time, tens of millions of SNAP participants could see a reduction in coverage too (or lose it entirely) when emergency allotments and administrative flexibilities end.

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Posted Thursday, July 7, 2022 by Laura Haffield

What’s Working to Solve the Staffing Crisis in Human Services?

Since the pandemic and so called “Great Resignation,” the staffing crisis has hit helping professions hard. These days it seems everyone is talking about it ... and for good reason. Long term care facilities, treatment centers, day cares and schools, and human services agencies—very few have not felt the effects of unprecedented levels of turnover and vacant positions.

In fact, Aysha E. Schomburg, associate commissioner for the Children’s Bureau, acknowledged the scope of the problem on the Child Welfare Information Gateway podcast, saying “I’m hearing about the mass resignations that are happening in our field, and our field is frankly in crisis.”

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Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Meet Traverse Connect: Our Portal to Engage Clients and Collaborators

Human services caseworkers are constantly exchanging information with people outside the agency, yet historically have lacked the right tools to support the process. We built our secure portal, Traverse® Connect, to solve agencies’ collaboration and client engagement problems—and here’s why.

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Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Empowering Adult & Aging Caseworkers with Information to Support Elder Abuse Prevention Efforts

Editor’s note: we originally published this post in 2019 shortly after Route Fifty named elder abuse the “silent epidemic of our time.” Unfortunately, cases have continued to increase—both in number and intensity—during the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning it’s even more important now for adult & aging caseworkers to have faster access to relevant information to create better support for clients’ overall well-being.

The mistreatment of older adults is a significant problem across the country. That’s why World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)—acknowledged annually on June 15—is a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

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Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2022 by Laura Haffield

Self-Care is So Yesterday: How to Re-Focus on Worker Well-Being and Foster Psychological Safety

“We need to talk about how we bake resilience into systems and teams. Otherwise, the onus is back on the person under stress.” – Dr. Tiffany Lindsey, EdD, LPC-MHSP

I recently listened to Dr. Lindsey speak as part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Social Work Public Child Welfare Training Program Spring Dialogue, and I’ve been thinking about this concept ever since. So much so that I asked Dr. Lindsey, an assistant professor and Safe Systems Practitioner at the University of Kentucky, if she would virtually sit down with me afterwards to speak more on safety culture, promoting worker well-being, and her work with the National Partnership for Child Safety.

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Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2022 by Team Northwoods

How CCWIS Federal Requirements Should Spark Systemic Change

Since 2016, the Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) final rule continues to change the way child welfare and human services leaders think about technology and innovation.

Beyond shifting the focus from monolithic to modular systems, it has sparked an industry-wide shift in thinking about how case data and information can and should be stored and shared for the good of the client. Further, it has empowered us to embrace flexibility and human-centered design, bring emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to the forefront, and raise the bar to deliver the highest quality of services to the most vulnerable.

These advances have been around in other industries for a while. To see them now making an impact in child welfare is exciting, especially when there hasn’t been an investment this big since Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) regulations were first created in the early 90s!

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Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Wearing Blue Unites Ohio Against Child Abuse

Since 2012, children services agencies, partners, and businesses across Ohio have shown support for child abuse prevention by participating in "Wear Blue," a statewide awareness campaign that takes place on the second Wednesday of every April, Child Abuse Prevention Month. Ohioans are encouraged to wear blue that day—to work, to school, to a community event, or at home—to show support for preventing child abuse and neglect.

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Posted Friday, April 8, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Forget About the Price Tag: Critical Factors Beyond Cost When Buying Human Services Technology

How much does human services technology cost? It’s a simple question with a complex answer.

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Posted Thursday, March 10, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Links We Love: Breaking the Burnout Cycle in Human Services [Resource Roundup]

The helpers are tired. Add the pandemic and the “Great Resignation” on top of already challenging, high-stress work and it’s no surprise that the human services workforce is in crisis.

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Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Why Do Social Workers Burn Out?

Social worker burnout and turnover have always been a significant problem in human and social services. Turnover in child welfare has ranged from 20-40% annually for the last two decades. But today the stakes are higher than ever. Frontline workers are mentally, emotionally, and physically drained.

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