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 Tuesday, February 9, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

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. 

Just as two solutions are never quite the same, neither are two vendors that provide them. Even if companies (or their tools) look similar on paper, dig a little deeper and you’ll find subtle nuances in how each one approaches their business. It’s these nuances that will have a significant impact on your project’s success.

Below is a list of questions that can help you separate a strategic partner who truly wants to help your organization grow over time from a run-of-the-mill vendor that’ll move on as soon as your transaction is complete.

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Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Readers' Choice Recap: Top Blog Posts of 2020

As another year comes to a close (thank goodness!), it's time to recap our top blogs of 2020.

Below is a countdown of this year's posts that our readers found most insightful. Remember, you can subscribe any time to make sure you never miss out on future content.

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Posted Monday, December 14, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Mitigate Risk, Maximize Results with New Human Services Technology

Technology for health and human services has gone from a nice to have to a must have. Agencies want to modernize their technology to manage the ripple effects of COVID-19, but struggle to figure out how. Revenue hits. Budget cuts. Furloughs. All of these make it increasingly difficult for agencies to fund new projects.

The good news? Getting new tools in place is not only possible but can be done in a way that provides both quick results and footing for better outcomes in the future. It just takes a bit of strategic planning, creative thinking, and business savvy.

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Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Getting the Green Light: Justify Spending on Human Services Technology

Is your human services agency planning to purchase new technology in 2021? In today’s world, agency leaders struggle to justify the need for new technology amid budget crises while IT leaders have been forced to cut many planned expenses in order to focus on the few that directly support COVID-19-related initiatives and precautions.

A comprehensive and compelling business case that presents three critical components—hard return on investment (ROI), non-quantifiable benefits, and the social/community impact of your purchase—may be a determining factor in whether your request gets the green light.

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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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