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 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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Posted Monday, August 28, 2023 by Brittany Traylor

Links We Love: Change Management Resources for Human Services

If you’ve ever started a new health or fitness regimen, you know this feeling: you recognize that trading in your existing habits for something better will have a positive impact on your well-being. But getting started seems so … daunting.


In human services, the same goes for making change on an organizational level. Whether you’re implementing a new tool, technology, policy, or practice model, it may seem scary at first, but it gets better as you begin to experience the value and benefits of change.

We recently published our own change management guide, Change Management 101: Empowering Human Services Agencies to Embrace Innovation, to ease your journey. Today we thought it would also be helpful to round up expert resources. Keep reading for an overview of how each resource can help you.

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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 Friday, June 30, 2023 by Laura Haffield

Unlocking Innovation: How Code for America and Minnesota are Charting a New Path

The public health emergency has significantly altered the delivery of government assistance programs over the past four years and has also spurred on a great deal of innovation to better serve those in need. Traditional concepts of what it looks like to apply for benefits have drastically changed.

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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 24, 2023 by Brittany Traylor

How Technology Can Help Build a Child's Foster Care Story

Children are deserving of their story. And a connection to their family. The impacts of foster care and out-of-home placement vary for each child but have been proven to cause unique challenges that affect a child’s behavioral, emotional, and mental health. However, providing a detailed and comprehensive story of a child’s journey can help mitigate potential negative impacts and vastly contribute to their future well-being.  

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