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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 Thursday, June 6, 2019 by Allison Mitsui

Technology Regression Happens. Here’s How to Fix It.

It’s no secret that technology is a huge investment. If you’ve put significant time and resources toward integrating technology throughout your agency’s daily flow of activities, you expect to see ongoing, long-term results long after your initial purchase.

But what happens when you stop seeing those returns? The reality is, even the most successful technology implementations can get off track down the line—especially several years later.

People turn over. Processes change. Time passes. If the way you use technology doesn’t keep up with the way you work, the efficiencies and time savings you once gained may slowly trickle away.

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Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Team Northwoods

National Foster Care Month: Organizations Doing Amazing Work for Children and Youth

National Foster Care Month recognizes the role that each person can play in enhancing the lives of more than 440,000 children and youth in foster care, plus hundreds of thousands more who have aged out or found permanent homes.

To honor it, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the organizations doing amazing work to support these kids and their families across the country.

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Posted Friday, May 3, 2019 by Greg Davis

Key Considerations When Integrating Human Services Technology

As government agencies get more comfortable with technology, a new challenge arises: integrating disparate systems to securely exchange data and information so agencies can use it to improve service delivery and make informed decisions. We invited Senior Solution Architect Greg Davis to give a peek behind the curtains at how our integration team helps customers connect their systems and data in a way that ultimately benefits both the agency and the communities it serves.

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Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

How to Knock Down Common Productivity Hurdles in Child Welfare

It’s no secret that child welfare social workers are more time-strapped than ever.

This presents a constant challenge for supervisors and directors as well: figuring out how to help workers be productive and drive meaningful outcomes in environments that don’t naturally lend themselves to it.

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Posted Thursday, April 4, 2019 by Jason Wintersteller

Human-Centered Design: How Northwoods Builds Solutions Around You

Editor’s note: you’ve likely heard people talking quite a bit lately about “human-centered design” (or “user-centered design,” “user-experience (UX) design,” or other similar terms). While it might seem like a relatively new trend to some, it has been the foundation upon which Northwoods has developed and delivered our products for years. We invited our product design leader, Jason Wintersteller, to share a bit more about our human-centered design approach and how it influences everything we do.

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Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by Team Northwoods

An Essential Reading List for Human Services Agency Leaders

No matter how many different priorities human services agency leaders juggle, one thing always remains the same: wanting to deliver the best possible experience and outcomes for the families that rely on your agency’s services.

That means carving out time to research what trends, tools, and emerging technologies can have the most significant impact on the industry, as well as what can be learned from other agencies, programs, or states.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite government, human services, and technology websites to help you get ahead of the curve. You can also follow all the sites mentioned below (and more!) with our Twitter list.

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Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by Team Northwoods

Elevate Social Work: A Roundup of Resources You Need to Succeed

Social Work Month is one of our favorite months of the year. Why? Because of YOU!

We love shouting from the rooftops about the superhero work you do to elevate 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.

That said, each year we like to come up with something a little different to support the Social Work Month theme while sharing your stories and contributions. Since part this year’s theme celebrates how you get people the resources they need to succeed, we thought we’d do the same for you.

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Posted Friday, March 1, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

Child Welfare Call to Action: Don't Wait to Innovate

The idea of technology innovation can be simultaneously exciting and overwhelming in child welfare.

On one hand, the potential to impact outcomes with mobility, analytics, or artificial intelligence (AI) is enticing. Imagine how quickly you’ll be able to initiate meaningful supportive services for children and families if you’re not tethered to the office or archaic ways of service delivery. Imagine if you could gain immediate insight from a wealth of historical knowledge to inform quick decisions about safety.

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Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by Carrie Heinze

Onboarding Made Quick and Easy in Human Services

Time is of the essence.

It takes time to document information. It takes time to learn each child’s story. It takes time to build trust with families. And before all that can take place, it takes time to train workers on new technology.

But what if you could train caseworkers well and save time?

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Posted Thursday, February 14, 2019 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.

Below is a list of questions that can help you determine if your tools and processes are providing the results you need. If not, it may be time to break up with your current vendor and explore a new relationship with a better partner instead.

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