Editor’s note: you’ve likely heard people talking quite a bit lately about “human-centered design” (or “user-centered design,” “user-experience (UX) design,” or other similar terms). While it might seem like a relatively new trend to some, it has been the foundation upon which Northwoods has developed and delivered our products for years. We invited our product design leader, Jason Wintersteller, to share a bit more about our human-centered design approach and how it influences everything we do.Read More
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.
No matter how many different priorities human services agency leaders juggle, one thing always remains the same: wanting to deliver the best possible experience and outcomes for the families that rely on your agency’s services.
That means carving out time to research what trends, tools, and emerging technologies can have the most significant impact on the industry, as well as what can be learned from other agencies, programs, or states.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite government, human services, and technology websites to help you get ahead of the curve. You can also follow all the sites mentioned below (and more!) with our Twitter list.Read More
The idea of technology innovation can be simultaneously exciting and overwhelming in child welfare.
On one hand, the potential to impact outcomes with mobility, analytics, or artificial intelligence (AI) is enticing. Imagine how quickly you’ll be able to initiate meaningful supportive services for children and families if you’re not tethered to the office or archaic ways of service delivery. Imagine if you could gain immediate insight from a wealth of historical knowledge to inform quick decisions about safety.Read More
Time is of the essence.
It takes time to document information. It takes time to learn each child’s story. It takes time to build trust with families. And before all that can take place, it takes time to train workers on new technology.
But what if you could train caseworkers well and save time?Read More
Roses are red,
violets are blue,
technology is sweet,
but is it really helping you?
You know that technology has the potential to modernize service delivery and drastically alter how you interact with clients. Too often though, human services agencies commit to technology that doesn’t end up delivering on the value it promises.
Below is a list of questions that can help you determine if your tools and processes are providing the results you need. If not, it may be time to break up with your current vendor and explore a new relationship with a better partner instead.Read More
Cases increasing in complexity. Increased referrals. Impact of opioids. Rising need for out-of-home placement. Antiquated systems and processes. Employee turnover and retention.
These are just a handful of the challenges that make it difficult for child welfare agencies to fulfill their missions to safeguard and deliver the highest possible quality of service to the most vulnerable children, youth, and families in their communities.Read More
This year's list is full of expert content, inspirational stories to remind you why you do what you do, and other resources to help you utilize social work technology.
(By the way, want to get more great articles like these written just for human services delivered straight to your inbox next year? Subscribe here.)Read More
In child welfare agencies across the country, social workers and front-line supervisors encounter significant obstacles when finding the best placement for a child in an emergency, are expected to evaluate every psychotropic medication use in youth in foster care, and face the seemingly impossible task of staying on top of cases that open and re-open over several years.
For some, innovative technology solutions have helped them to overcome these systemic barriers. Implementing a system of engagement designed to increase efficiency and improve service delivery, for example, has helped these agencies to take full advantage of their case content—collecting, analyzing, and displaying the critical data and information needed to make confident decisions about child safety.Read More
In recent years, “adventure therapy” has emerged as an engaging and effective way to help and heal children who have experienced trauma. Last month, several Northwoodians volunteered at a 3-day, immersive camp dedicated to this cause. They had such an overwhelmingly positive experience that we felt compelled to share a little bit about adventure therapy and how these camps can impact kids.Read More