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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 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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Posted Wednesday, May 23, 2018 by Team Northwoods

10 Inspiring Foster Care Success Stories

We’d like to take a moment to thank all the social workers who work tirelessly for children in foster care. Your days are long and too often touched by heartbreak. But because of your dedication and concern, you help create joy and hope for the families you serve.

In honor of National Foster Care Month, here are some amazing foster care success stories. We hope you find them to be an inspirational and heartwarming reminder of why you work so hard for your children and families.

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Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2018 by Rupam Chokshi

5 Ways a System of Engagement Benefits Child Welfare

Modernizing to the new Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) creates a major opportunity for child welfare organizations to apply innovative solutions to overcome systematic barriers.

However, too many states and agencies may still view CCWIS as the next Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) with little change.

Where SACWIS was more of a “one-size-fits-all” model, CCWIS allows agencies to tailor their IT needs to align with their unique program requirements.

This opens the door for child welfare organizations to consider next-generation technology, like a system of engagement, that revolutionizes how social workers deliver services and interact with clients.

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Posted Monday, May 7, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

Traverse: Transforming the Way Child Welfare and Adult & Aging Agencies Work with Families to Improve Outcomes

"I'm big on efficiencies and using technology. If you're not using the latest and greatest software, you're behind." – Justin Zmyewski, Houston County (Minnesota) Commissioner

For Northwoods, the “latest and greatest software” means something that’s designed to work the way child welfare and adult & aging agencies work.

That’s why we created Traverse®—a content collection and case discovery solution that empowers child welfare and adult & aging agencies to make informed, confident decisions about safety.

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