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 Wednesday, February 14, 2024 by Laura Haffield

Stories from the Heart: Reflecting on Our Impact in Human Services

Ask anyone at Northwoods what has made us successful for the last twenty years and they’ll say it’s our mission-driven people who love nothing more than making an impact. We truly do love partnering with our customers throughout their change journey, and seeing our shared hard work make positive changes for workers, supervisors, administrators, and ultimately the people they serve. That focus on mission and love of witnessing transformation is our secret sauce.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I wanted to share some stories from those at Northwoods who work with our partner agencies every day. I asked our teams to share in their own words times they have felt they made an impact or were really proud of the work we accomplished with our customers.

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Posted Tuesday, February 6, 2024 by Team Northwoods

Answering the Top 10 Questions on Buying Human Services Technology

“As directors, it is our sole responsibility to clear the path and move obstacles out of the way for people to stay in our agency. Any time you can give caseworkers more time with families, it helps with their morale and their balance. That ultimately has a positive impact on the work we’re doing.” – Joe Kellerby, Child Welfare Director, Mesa County Department of Human Services

This quote from one of our customers underscores why technology has such a huge impact in human services. Technology allows workers more time to do the job they signed up to do—assisting clients in being healthy, safe, and successful—which is critical for supporting and sustaining the workforce.

Yet, buying technology can still be incredibly difficult, especially for agencies who haven’t done it before. We know it’s overwhelming to navigate all the options available, so we created a technology toolkit to help your human services agency navigate the journey—from defining the problem you want to solve, to evaluating the right partners, to implementing and optimizing your solution. Here’s a quick preview of the top questions we answer.

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Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2024 by Team Northwoods

Solving Cybersecurity Problems in Human Services Before They Start

If you work in IT, the words “data breach” likely send shivers down your spine. If you work in IT for a human services agency, the stakes are even higher.

No one—agency or vendor—wants to be responsible for a security breach, ransomware attack, or data loss that compromises your system integrity, threatens your clients’ privacy, or delays your agency’s ability to deliver services to the people who rely on you.

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Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2024 by Team Northwoods

Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2024

New year, new opportunities!

Since 2018, this blog post has been a go-to resource for readers looking for information about the best industry conferences to keep up to date on key issues, trends, and topics impacting human services. The list represents events that not only have amazing programming and speakers, but also build in time for attendees to network, share ideas, and discuss how they're addressing their latest opportunities and challenges.

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Posted Monday, December 18, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Readers' Choice Recap: Top Blog Posts of 2023

Another year is coming to a close and that means it's time to recap our top blogs of 2023. 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 Tuesday, December 12, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Cheers to 20 Years: Celebrating Success and What’s Next for Northwoods

The year was 2003. Beyonce and Jay-Z were “Crazy in Love,” “Wicked” made its Broadway debut, and Marlin and Dory took us on an oceanwide adventure in “Finding Nemo.” That same year, Apple launched its original iTunes Music Store and camera phones began taking the US by storm. Here in Dublin, Ohio, a small but mighty technology company called Northwoods was starting to take shape.

Throughout this year we’ve been celebrating our 20th anniversary by reflecting on our past two decades of work and achievements and celebrating what’s to come. As 2023 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to look back, look forward, and say thank you to everyone who has been part of our story.

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Posted Tuesday, November 14, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Tech Talk 101: Child Welfare Technology Terms to Know

Child welfare technology is constantly evolving: trends ebb and flow, policies and mandates change, and new tools become available seemingly every day. Beyond changing how work gets done, it’s also changing the way you talk about it—both about your challenges and how technology can be used to help solve them.

We’ve compiled a list of terms you’ve likely heard or read about related to technology, along with their definitions, how they relate to each other, and what they mean for child welfare.

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Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2023 by Amy Drapcho

HSFO Highlights: All Things Finance and Funding in Human Services

Amy Drapcho, Northwoods’ fiscal advocate, helps human services agencies of all sizes navigate the complexities of budgeting, planning, and all things finance. Amy recently attended the Human Services Finance Officers (HSFO) Conference in Nashville and brought back a ton of insight on hot topics and opportunities impacting agencies today. Here’s a recap of her favorite sessions and resources.

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Posted Monday, October 16, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT for Human Services and Social Work: Dos and Don’ts

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly evolving and changing the world as we know it, creating a paradigm shift in multiple sectors, including human services and social work. However, AI tools also pose unique challenges, particularly related to data privacy and trust in their outputs.

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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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