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 Monday, November 21, 2022 by Laura Haffield

How Academic Institutions Help Strengthen the Human Services Workforce

In a recent blog on solving the human services staffing crisis, I mentioned wanting to shout from the rooftops about partnerships between academic institutions and local and state agencies.

My bias is showing in this area due to my time in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Training Program and seeing that partnership between academia and local child welfare agencies play out to the benefit of all stakeholders involved. Without that program, and the mentorship and funding that came along with it, I may not have become a committed child welfare practitioner who, despite transitioning away from direct practice, is still dedicated to this field today.

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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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Posted Thursday, October 13, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Child Welfare Agencies Can't Live Without Traverse. Here's Why.

Traverse®—Northwoods' cloud-based document management, forms management, mobility, and case discovery software—digitizes entire case files and mobilizes content to enable social work from anywhere. It surfaces critical information to help child welfare teams feel more supported and manage the complexity of today’s cases. As a result, agencies can better meet performance measures and permanency goals.

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Posted Monday, September 26, 2022 by Team Northwoods

What Would You Ask if Your Child Welfare Case File Could Talk?

Behavioral assessments. Psychological reports. Safety plans. Court documents.
Medical histories. Risk factors. Protective factors. Traumatic triggers.
Previous interventions. Transitions and placements. Drug involvement.

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Posted Thursday, September 15, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Advancing Economic Mobility and Well-Being Ahead of the Unwinding

In August, a few Northwoodians attended the American Public Human Services Association’s (APHSA) Economic Mobility and Well-Being Conference. From sessions on emerging from the pandemic, adapting policies and processes, and developing the workforce, a few themes emerged about where the industry is heading as “the unwinding” draws closer. Keep reading for some additional insight on each theme:

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Posted Wednesday, August 17, 2022 by Team Northwoods

7 Ways to See If Your Technology Is Meeting Caseworkers’ Expectations

We may never be able to predict where the industry is heading in the next five to 10 years, but we do know there are some key issues facing human services today that will continue to impact the industry tomorrow. Modern technology is a linchpin in how successfully agencies can address them.

Our eBook, “Modernizing Human Services: Technology’s Integral Role in Addressing Key Issues,” dives into a few of these critical issues (think caseworker burnout and client disengagement) and explores the role that technology plays in overcoming each one. Keep reading for a short summary of how IT and program leaders can be the hero to human services caseworkers who need immediate support to help clients today, while positioning agencies for continued success in the long term.

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Posted Friday, July 29, 2022 by Team Northwoods

When Eligibility Waivers Expire: 5 Steps to Prep Your Agency

When the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends and Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, and TANF waivers expire, will your human services agency be ready? The PHE was just extended through October and may remain in place through the end of 2022. Either way, the impact of the PHE ending will be felt soon.

When states begin to resume eligibility reviews, up to 15 million people could lose their current Medicaid or CHIP coverage through a process called “the unwinding.” (Also worth noting: around one in four Americans are currently enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP.) At the same time, tens of millions of SNAP participants could see a reduction in coverage too (or lose it entirely) when emergency allotments and administrative flexibilities end.

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Posted Thursday, July 7, 2022 by Laura Haffield

What’s Working to Solve the Staffing Crisis in Human Services?

Since the pandemic and so called “Great Resignation,” the staffing crisis has hit helping professions hard. These days it seems everyone is talking about it ... and for good reason. Long term care facilities, treatment centers, day cares and schools, and human services agencies—very few have not felt the effects of unprecedented levels of turnover and vacant positions.

In fact, Aysha E. Schomburg, associate commissioner for the Children’s Bureau, acknowledged the scope of the problem on the Child Welfare Information Gateway podcast, saying “I’m hearing about the mass resignations that are happening in our field, and our field is frankly in crisis.”

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Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Meet Traverse Connect: Our Portal to Engage Clients and Collaborators

Human services caseworkers are constantly exchanging information with people outside the agency, yet historically have lacked the right tools to support the process. We built our secure portal, Traverse® Connect, to solve agencies’ collaboration and client engagement problems—and here’s why.

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Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2022 by Team Northwoods

Empowering Adult & Aging Caseworkers with Information to Support Elder Abuse Prevention Efforts

Editor’s note: we originally published this post in 2019 shortly after Route Fifty named elder abuse the “silent epidemic of our time.” Unfortunately, cases have continued to increase—both in number and intensity—during the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning it’s even more important now for adult & aging caseworkers to have faster access to relevant information to create better support for clients’ overall well-being.

The mistreatment of older adults is a significant problem across the country. That’s why World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)—acknowledged annually on June 15—is a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

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