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, 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 Thursday, April 6, 2023 by Laura Haffield

Modern Technology Tools for Supporting the Human Services Workforce

The current workforce crisis facing the helping professions, including all programs within human services, unfortunately isn’t going away any time soon. Workforce issues will be top of mind for both local and state human services agencies for the next several years, as well as a priority communicated by federal partners. As we come out of Social Work Month with a renewed focus on empowering workers, what better time to talk about how technology is supporting the workforce today?

At Northwoods, we take pride in developing tools that help ease the day-to-day burdens on caseworkers and social workers across the country so they can focus on clients and families. However, we know that’s just one piece of the puzzle. A lot of today’s most impactful technology is targeted toward supporting workers themselves. This is critical since a happy and stable workforce has long been shown to have dramatic positive impacts on the citizens they serve.

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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 Tuesday, January 31, 2023 by Team Northwoods

Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2023

Over the past several years, this blog post has become 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.  

It's been a while since we've planned for a full conference season, so we're excited to have so many events on the schedule this year!

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Posted Thursday, January 19, 2023 by Amy Drapcho

Is Any Money Out There? A Quick Guide to Grants for Human Services

As your human services agency navigates the complex technology buying process, you may find yourself wondering what external funding streams are available, outside of your agency’s budget, and how to access them to support or enhance your upcoming project. Local, state, and national grant opportunities are a resource you can strategically leverage to support innovation, modernization, and workforce initiatives.

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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 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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