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.

Team Northwoods's Articles

Team Northwoods
Our team of human services experts cover key topics and trends impacting the industry and help agencies gain support for modern technology solutions.
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Posted Thursday, September 21, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Creating a Sustainable Workforce: 3 Keys to Support Human Services Heroes

Sustaining the workforce. Increasing capacity. Building resiliency. If you work in human services, you’re certainly familiar with these terms.

As agencies across the country continue to feel the effects of staffing shortages and a shrinking pool of quality candidates to fill their vacant positions, leaders are looking to address one of the major underlying causes contributing to the workforce crisis—staff burnout.

The reasons for burnout are many, including long hours, low pay, and lack of support. While many workers who enter the field expect the job to be stressful, they don’t anticipate the added burden of paperwork and bureaucracy. Yet, 64% of their burnout stems from these work-related causes.

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Posted Monday, July 31, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Change Champions: The Key to Modernizing Human Services Technology

You may have heard the adage “technology projects are people projects.” This is because when your human services agency embarks on a modernization initiative, the technology itself isn’t what drives the change. People do. If workers aren’t willing to open their minds or change their habits, the technology won’t provide value and your agency won’t realize the intended return on investment. To be successful, you have to lead with change from start to finish.

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Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Elevating the User Experience Through Product Education [Q&A]

Human services software needs to be simple, intuitive, and meaningful for today’s caseworkers to use and love it. At Northwoods, this concept is at the foundation of everything we do—from how we build our products, to how we train and support the workers who use them.

However, we know that even the most tech-savvy workers need a little extra help sometimes. You may hear us talk about “software that supports itself,” which allows users to get help when and how they want. But what does that really mean? We invited our product education team to give us a behind-the-scenes look at how our efforts continue to grow to meet customers’ needs.

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Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Overcoming Obstacles That Slow Organizational Change in Human Services

Change is hard, especially in human services. When you’re so committed to empowering clients and families to change their own behaviors, it can be challenging to flip the lens and see the value of change for yourself—especially when your capacity is already limited.

There are plenty of reasons that human services agencies may be hesitant to change that often boil down to the same key issue: workers are already so overwhelmed they simply don’t have time and energy to add one more thing to their plate.

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Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2023 by Team Northwoods

A Fresh Approach to Electronic Forms in Human Services

Releases of information and consents.
Court orders and modifications.
Income statements and employment verifications.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of forms that human services agencies rely on to operate every day. Forms are essentially an agency’s primary method of communication—both internally and externally. They also support the adage, “if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen.”

This is why many agencies have recognized the importance of digitizing their forms as a first step toward increasing their efficiency, timeliness, and service delivery capacity. Most importantly, when forms can be completed, signed, and submitted electronically and from anywhere, families can reach their goals in a timelier manner.

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Posted Monday, March 13, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Every Case File, One Solution: The Future of Human Services Software

A child welfare worker evaluating a report of neglect needs to know what other resources and services the family has tried to access (think food assistance or child care) to determine what supports are already in place or might be needed to keep a child is safe at home. A child welfare worker completing a reunification assessment also needs to know if parents have complied with their child support agreement.

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Posted Friday, February 24, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Putting the 'Human' Back in Human Services Through Robotic Process Automation

Editor’s note: Robotic process automation emerged ahead of the pandemic as one of the next-generation technologies with significant potential to transform how government agencies work. Fast forward to today and this potential is even greater. With the COVID-19 public health emergency ending and “the unwinding” underway, workers in Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and other human services programs are expecting an uptick in work to make sure clients don’t lose their benefits and resources. RPA is especially applicable across these means-tested eligibility programs, so we’ve updated this blog with some additional use cases and best practices.

Human services agencies are constantly fighting to make time for meaningful, high-value work with clients, while maintaining compliance and maximizing efficiency.

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Posted Monday, January 9, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Traverse for Adult & Aging: Software to Support the Continuum of Care

Adult & aging caseworkers are stretched for time and resources trying to balance paperwork requirements and spending quality time with clients. They want to focus on assessing clients’ needs and coordinating services, but administrative roadblocks stand in the way.

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Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Readers' Choice Recap: Top Blog Posts of 2022

Another year is coming to a close and that means it's time to recap our top blogs of 2022. Whether you're new here (welcome!) or a regular reader (welcome back!), we hope you'll find something new and insightful in this year's list.

Subscribe to the blog via email so you never miss out on future content or get in touch with our team if certain trends, topics, or challenges are on your mind as we head into the new year. As always, thanks for reading along with us!

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Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2022 by Team Northwoods

From Input to Insight: How Brunswick County Leverages Data in Traverse

“We have all this great data in Traverse. The way we're organizing it, we can pull it out in a meaningful way.” – Cathy Lytch, Social Services Director, Brunswick County Department of Social Services (DSS)

This feedback from a customer is one of the reasons why we built our flagship software Traverse® in the first place. We often hear how workers spend too much time collecting, entering, and verifying data, but not enough time using it to inform decisions and actions. The same goes for agency leaders who have a trove of valuable insight buried in their systems for collecting data for compliance and reporting.

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