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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, July 24, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway—5 Ideas to Create Meaningful Change in Child Welfare

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” 
— John F. Kennedy

Life is a series of calculated risks and decisions. We know it pays off to take risks to advance our professional and personal lives, so let me ask you a few questions: why aren’t we doing the same for the children who rely on us? Why are we so hesitant to take bold action on behalf of innocent kids enduring some of life’s most horrific atrocities?

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Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Team Northwoods

National Foster Care Month: Organizations Doing Amazing Work for Children and Youth

National Foster Care Month recognizes the role that each person can play in enhancing the lives of more than 440,000 children and youth in foster care, plus hundreds of thousands more who have aged out or found permanent homes.

To honor it, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the organizations doing amazing work to support these kids and their families across the country.

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Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

How to Knock Down Common Productivity Hurdles in Child Welfare

It’s no secret that child welfare social workers are more time-strapped than ever.

This presents a constant challenge for supervisors and directors as well: figuring out how to help workers be productive and drive meaningful outcomes in environments that don’t naturally lend themselves to it.

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Posted Friday, March 1, 2019 by Rich Bowlen

Child Welfare Call to Action: Don't Wait to Innovate

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.

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Posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 by Lauren Hirka

Connecting the Dots: How Traverse Can Positively Impact a Child’s Life

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.

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Posted Monday, January 7, 2019 by Team Northwoods

9 Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2019

Editor's note: This post was originally published on January 15, 2018, but we recently updated/expanded the list. New conferences for 2019 are denoted with an asterisk.

New year, new opportunities! If one of your 2019 goals is to keep your finger on the pulse of key issues, trends, and topics impacting your agency and/or community, industry conferences are a great way to get started.

We've vetted and attended a lot of conferences over time, and we like to start each new year with a list of recommendations. This list represents events that not only have amazing programming and speakers, but also build in time for attendees to network, share ideas, and discuss how they're addressing key opportunities and challenges.

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Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Top 5 Northwoods Blog Posts of 2018

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.

Happy reading!

(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.)

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Posted Thursday, December 6, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

Linking Technology, Dark Data, and Child Welfare Outcomes [ISM Session Recap]

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.

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Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by Team Northwoods

Adventure Therapy Camps Aim to Help Ohio Kids Overcome Childhood Trauma

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.

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Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by Rupam Chokshi

Tech Talk 101: 30 Child Welfare Technology and Business 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 in conversation or come across in practice articles related to technology, along with their definitions, how they relate to each other, and what they mean for child welfare.

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