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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 Friday, July 30, 2021 by Rich Bowlen

Connecting the Dots: How Traverse Supports Kinship and Trauma-Informed Care

Child welfare caseworkers need to know how technology supports their practice, priorities, and daily work. Otherwise, it’s just another obstacle standing in the way of their mission to help kids and families.

Our new Human Services Huddle video series is designed to help you connect the dots through feature previews and use cases that show exactly how our tools help caseworkers help others.

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Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2021 by Don Abney

To Code or Not to Code: What Platform is Best for Building Human Services Software?

Years ago, when I was leading technical teams at Nationwide Insurance, they launched the marketing slogan "Life comes at you fast." Some of the developers in the company quickly adopted the phrase for our own purposes. It rang true as we navigated the never-ending parade of new technology and new ways to design software.

It was, and still is, confusing to know what tools and methods to adopt. And we are the software people! If it’s confusing to us, it’s likely a dark art to the rest of the world. Some of the latest tools on the scene that we know people are still wrapping their heads around are low-code/no-code software development platforms. We thought it might be useful to share our thoughts on how they might benefit our readers.

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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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