Editor's note: We're monitoring information to provide updates as conferences across the country get cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. This post was most recently updated on May 12, 2020.
If one of your 2020 goals is to keep your finger on the pulse of key issues, trends, and topics impacting your agency and/or the community, industry conferences are a great way to get started.
We've vetted a lot of human services and digital government conferences over time, and we like to start each new year with our recommendations.
This list represents events that not only have excellent programming and speakers, but also build in time for attendees to network and discuss how they're addressing key opportunities and challenges.
Conferences denoted with ** have been impacted by COVID-19.
- CWLA 2020 National Conference **
- OJFSDA Annual Training Conference **
- APHSA's National Health and Human Services Summit **
- NYPWA's Annual Summer Conference **
- FCC Foundation's Annual Conference **
- HSFo Annual Conference **
- MESC 2020
- APHSA's ISM Conference
- CWDA Annual Conference
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) 2020 Conference
- COVID-19 update: The conference has been postponed until March 2021. In the meantime, CWLA is regularly updating its COVID-19 resource page with news, information, and learning opportunities for child welfare professionals, parents, caregivers, community partners, and others impacted by the crisis.
- Who? Child and family program administrators; agency leadership; policy and research professionals; caregivers and community partners.
- What? Celebrates leadership in creating and advancing standards of practice, advocacy, and information-sharing to enhance the well-being of children and families.
- When? March 25-29
- Where? Washington, DC
- Why? Since this year marks CWLA's 100th anniversary, we're looking forward to sessions about reflecting on the past in hopes they'll lead to productive discussions around creating a new and better path forward.
- Related link: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway—5 Ideas to Create Meaningful Change in Child Welfare
- Learn more: Visit CWLA's conference website for additional information
Ohio Job and Family Services Directors' Association (OJFSDA) Annual Training Conference
- COVID-19 update: OJFSDA Annual Training Conference has been tentatively rescheduled for October 27-28. Further details to come as they are finalized.
- Who? Directors and leaders from county agencies; state and local policymakers, legislators, and commissioners
- What? Provides training, research, education, and idea-sharing to help attendees find new ways to better serve the citizens of Ohio.
- When? May 14-15
- Where? Columbus, OH
- Why? OJFSDA is always a good opportunity to hear updates around modernization and innovation efforts underway across the state, plus offers a chance for us to check in with our Ohio customers.
- Related link: Northwoods Working with State of Ohio on Statewide Document Management
- Learn more: Visit OJFSDA's website for additional information
American Public Human Services Association's (APHSA) National Health and Human Services (HHS) Summit
- COVID-19 update: APHSA has cancelled the summit and does not have plans to reschedule it. However, APHSA is exploring virtual ways to bring members and partners together and will continue to provide COVID-19 updates and resources.
- Who? HHS agency directors, program administrators, and professionals
- What? Showcases HHS innovation and focuses on improving collaboration to achieve better outcomes for children, families, and communities.
- When? June 7-10
- Where? Arlington, VA
- Why? This conference is one of only two that have been on our list since its inception! Northwoodians who attend the summit come back with a ton of insight on upcoming policy/program changes and industry trends will affect our partners.
- Related link: Systems as Storytellers: Connecting People and Systems to Boost Collaboration
- Learn more: Visit the summit website or find more information about all of APHSA's conferences and events
New York Public Welfare Association's (NYPWA) Annual Summer Conference
- COVID-19 update: While the summer conference has been canceled, NYPWA's Annual Winter Conference is still scheduled for January 19-22, 2021 in Albany, NY.
- Who? New York's local and state social services agency administrators
- What? Promotes the exchange of ideas, development of new initiatives, and refinement of existing programs and services among New York’s 58 local departments of social services, state government agencies, and other organizations.
- When? July 19-22
- Where? Saratoga Springs, NY
- Why? New York's commissioners share our commitment to innovation and helping agencies leverage new technology to make the biggest impact on the community. This year, we're excited to share updates on the projects we have underway with Cayuga, Chautauqua, Jefferson, Onondaga, Madison, and Seneca counties.
- Related links: Resources for child welfare in New York; Resources for lobby management
- Learn more: Visit NYPWA's website for additional information
Florida Coalition for Children (FCC) Foundation's Annual Conference
- COVID-19 update: The FCC 2020 Annual Conference has been canceled. The Coalition is in the process of developing an online learning community to engage attendees and offer additional learning opportunities, while continuing to add resources to its COVID-19 response page.
- Who? Child welfare agency directors, board members, program managers, supervisors, case managers, administrative staff, and advocates
- What? Focuses on the agencies and individuals who work on the behalf of Florida’s abused, abandoned, neglected, and at-risk children.
- When? July 27-29
- Where? Orlando, FL
- Why? This conference draws a wide array of attendees and we value the opportunity to have conversations with both policy-makers and frontline workers about how Traverse® can help workers facilitate more purposeful visits.
- Related link: Connecting the Dots: How Traverse Can Positively Impact a Child's Life
- Learn more: Visit the FCC conference website for additional information
National Association of State Human Services Finance Officers Organization (HSFo) Annual Conference
- COVID-19 update: HSFo has canceled the conference, plus all training events that require travel until further notice. Information provided by members related to the budget and financial impacts of the crisis will be shared among members and attendees instead.
- Who? State and local finance professionals; federal officials and policy-makers
- What? Exchanging ideas, learning from each other's successes, and blending best practices related to changes in federal and state policies and regulations.
- When? August 9-13
- Where? Providence, RI
- Why? We know that budgets and finance are an ongoing challenge in human services, especially when it comes to purchasing technology. This conference provides a wealth of knowledge and ideas that we can share with agencies when they need help.
- Related link: 9 Tips for Financing Human Services Technology Projects
- Learn more: Visit HSFo's website for additional information
Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference (MESC) 2020
- Who? Public and private sector Medicaid IT professionals and thought leaders
- What? Sharing ideas and information related to Medicaid systems and initiatives, as well as policies affected by those systems.
- When? August 10-13
- Where? Boston, MA
- Why? This conference presents an opportunity to expand our knowledge around enterprise systems, integrated eligibility, and statewide modernization efforts.
- Related link: Making IT Modernization a Reality for Agencies
- Learn more: Visit the MESC 2020 website for additional information
APHSA’s IT Solutions Management (ISM) for Human Services
- Who? Agency directors, program administrators, IT directors, technology partners, and federal/state officials
- What? Brings together federal, state, local, and private sector thought leaders to discuss lessons learned, emerging issues, and key trends relating to HHS technology.
- When? September 13-16
- Where? Kissimmee, FL
- Why? ISM is hands down one of our favorite events to hear from partners and industry experts about the most important IT topics and innovations impacting human services.
- Related link: Machine-Assisted Social Work and the Future of Child Welfare Technology
- Learn more: Visit the ISM website or find more information about all of APHSA's conferences and events
- Who? California child welfare agency directors, program managers, and supervisors
- What? Promotes innovation and encourages attendees to expand their approaches to best serving children, families, and aging individuals
- When? October 7-9
- Where? Anaheim, CA
- Why? This is another good opportunity to hear about digital, forward-thinking strategies and ideas to improve service delivery across the continuum of care. We're excited to show how our solutions can help California agencies use a person's entire history to help shape their future, plus provide updates on our work with Monterey, Ventura, and Yuba counties.
- Related link: Resources for child welfare in California
- Learn more: Visit CWDA's website for additional information
What other conferences are on your radar this year? Let us know in the comments. You can also visit our website to see a full list of national and state-specific conferences we’re planning to attend each quarter.