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 9, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Dear Social Workers, Thank You for Showing Up.

Social workers are some of the most resourceful, creative, and passionate people in the world. It’s just one of the reasons we're so appreciative of your unwavering commitment to serve on the frontlines. No matter the circumstances, you’ve always risen to the occasion to prioritize your communities and, most importantly, keep kids, families, and communities safe. Thank you for being a source of stability and strength for the families who rely on you.

We know it can be hard to stay positive and keep fighting given everything going on in the world right now. We want to share some stories and quotes about the amazing work that’s done, as well as the support and encouragement that’s been provided, in hopes that it helps boost your spirits on tough days. Read More
Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by Rupam Chokshi

12 Resources to Reboot Your Human Services Technology in 2021

Human services leaders were put to the test in 2020. Now, it’s time to think about what’s next.

As you look ahead to 2021, you may be considering several different technology-related options: investing in new tools, optimizing existing ones, or taking a step back to rethink what you really need before making any big decisions. Wherever you are in this journey, we’re here to help.

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Posted Monday, October 19, 2020 by Matt Leasure

Brunswick County Enables Social Work from Anywhere with Traverse

Editor's note: This blog post was originally published in July 2020, shortly after Brunswick County DSS completed its implementation amid COVID-19 shutdowns. It's been updated to include additional information now that workers have been using the software for a few months and return to the office as needed.

Ask any human services agency the right time to introduce new technology and you’ll be met with hesitation. Leaders already worry that this type of major change may interrupt service delivery. Add the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across our communities and everything becomes even more uncertain.

While some agencies have been cautious to prioritize and invest in technology amid COVID-19, the leadership team at Brunswick County Department of Social Services (DSS) felt the opposite.

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Posted Monday, October 5, 2020 by Chuck Barber

How Mesa County is Using Traverse to Strengthen Families: A Case Study

"A system like this is absolutely needed to support caseworkers to do what I believe they are walking through the door to do. That's to keep kids safe, to find them permanency, and to assist families in being healthy and self-sufficient."

When asked why Mesa County Department of Human Services (DHS) chose to implement Northwoods’ child welfare solution Traverse®, Child Welfare Director Joe Kellerby said it’s because agency leadership believed the software could empower caseworkers to meet the goals above. How? By minimizing administrative burdens to enhance critical work, thus allowing caseworkers to fully focus on building trust, engaging families, and reducing trauma.

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Posted Friday, September 11, 2020 by Team Northwoods

The Cost of Doing Nothing: How Inaction Can Hurt Human Services

Convincing administrators, board members, legislators, and general stakeholders that your human services agency needs to purchase new technology is hard, no matter how essential. You’re up against several roadblocks—finite budgets, shrinking revenues, and competing priorities, to name a few.

How can you make a compelling case to get support and overcome these roadblocks?

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Posted Thursday, September 3, 2020 by Greg Tipping

Is Your Economic Assistance Technology Roadmap Heading the Right Way?

The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) recently released a special statement calling for administrative relief for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) agencies.

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Posted Monday, August 31, 2020 by Rich Bowlen

Understanding and Addressing Racial Bias and Equity in Child Welfare [Resources]

How are caseworkers and social workers experiencing and working to better understand racial bias and disparities in child welfare? What are families and recipients of services saying? How can we all support critical services such as child protection while sharing in the effort to shape healthier communities? Now is the time to seek a deeper knowledge of what is and has been happening and why. We’ve been compiling research and resources to gain a shared understanding to work from.

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Posted Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Team Northwoods

How to Buy Human Services Technology (Even During a Crisis)

Buying technology for human services can be hard, especially for agencies that have never done so before. (Of course, working through this process amid a global pandemic and economic instability adds a new layer of complication!)

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Posted Monday, July 6, 2020 by Rupam Chokshi

Prioritizing Technology in Human Services and Preparing for What May Be Next [Lessons from COVID-19]

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for human services in many ways.

Initially, it forced agency leaders to rethink how and where mission-critical work could be done, as well as which tools and technology were truly essential to support this new way of operating. Now, the focus has shifted toward determining the best way to allocate shrinking budgets and limited resources to sustain these changes and navigate the new landscape for the long term.

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Posted Thursday, June 18, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Streamline and Simplify How Child Support Caseworkers Do Their Job

“It's just so much paperwork. It's hard on me because you know that the families aren't getting the money they need for that month.” – Tammy Baldwin, Child Support Agent II, Lenoir County (North Carolina) Department of Social Services

If you’re a child support caseworker, you may feel overwhelmed. Creating court orders and motions is a tedious, paper-heavy, and time-consuming process, not to mention obtaining complete information regarding non-custodial parents.

Additionally, most child support caseworkers lose valuable time every day to the antiquated documentation systems and manual processes they use to collect, retrieve, and share information. This makes it impossible to be truly efficient and provide complete client service, which can delay families from accessing resources and children from receiving the support they need for their well-being.

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