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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 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 Tuesday, April 21, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Reimagining Service Delivery in a Remote World (Q&A with Economic Assistance Evangelist Greg Tipping)

The COVID-19 pandemic is placing immediate and direct burden on economic assistance agencies tasked with handling an unprecedented uptick in applications for benefits.

We asked economic assistance evangelist, Greg Tipping, to share his insight on how agencies are adapting to remote work, how the pandemic is forcing leaders to reimagine the system, and the role modern technology will play in helping caseworkers manage the mountain of work headed their way.

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Posted Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Rupam Chokshi

Putting the 'Human' Back in Human Services Through Robotic Process Automation

Human services agencies are constantly fighting to make time for meaningful, high-value work with clients, while maintaining compliance and maximizing efficiency.

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Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2020 by Greg Tipping

Debunking Common Economic Assistance Myths and Misperceptions That Could Impact States’ Integrated Eligibility Efforts

With an election around the corner, economic assistance programs—especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid—and integrated eligibility systems have come under major public scrutiny.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there that leads people to ask questions based on false assumptions. For example, aren’t most people who receive assistance inappropriately taking advantage of the system? Don’t these programs discourage work? Do people receiving benefits really need them?

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Posted Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by Allison Mitsui

How Streamlined is Your Human Services Lobby?

Imagine you’re a working parent balancing three minimum wage jobs to provide stability for your family but find yourself needing to apply for temporary assistance to get by.

You don’t have much time between shifts, so you drive to your local agency to start the application process over your 45-minute lunch break … only to get stuck in line as soon as you enter the lobby. You’re not sure where to go or what to do. Do you stay and risk getting back to work late? Do you come back tomorrow and hope you’ll get served faster?

To the vulnerable citizens who need your help, a line in your lobby may feel like an immediate disservice.

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Posted Monday, September 9, 2019 by Rupam Chokshi

Answering Your Commonly Asked Cloud Questions

I recently read a Forbes article about government and the future of cloud. This line caught my attention:

“For many, cloud adoption is no longer an ‘if,’ it's a ‘when.’ The benefits of the public cloud are becoming too great to ignore.”

While I agree with this statement, I’m not so sure human services is as far along as other government programs. There are plenty of counties, and even some states, still in the process of wrapping their heads around what—if any—cloud-based technologies are right for their needs.

I know many of you still have questions and concerns about the cloud, so this post will help address them.

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Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2019 by Greg Tipping

You Can't Automate Compassion

As a former job and family services worker in Ohio, it is safe to say I have a lot of stories. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, not all of them are good ones. It’s a hard job and you often do not get to see the result of your work. However, there is one story that has stuck with me through the years.

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Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 by Allison Mitsui

Technology Regression Happens. Here’s How to Fix It.

It’s no secret that technology is a huge investment. If you’ve put significant time and resources toward integrating technology throughout your agency’s daily flow of activities, you expect to see ongoing, long-term results long after your initial purchase.

But what happens when you stop seeing those returns? The reality is, even the most successful technology implementations can get off track down the line—especially several years later.

People turn over. Crises interrupt operations. Processes change. Time passes. If the way you use technology doesn’t adapt to the way you work, the efficiencies and time savings you once gained may slowly trickle away.

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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 Tuesday, June 5, 2018 by Rich Diers

Is Your Economic Assistance Program Using the Right Document Capture Tools?

Economic assistance caseworkers face constant deadlines to process applications and redeterminations.

However, outdated, inefficient document management tools and processes often get in the way, which can delay clients from receiving the benefits they need.

This could leave them feeling frustrated and vulnerable. Of course, that’s the opposite of what caseworkers are aiming to do.

The good news? The right technology can help alleviate these problems, allowing caseworkers to serve their clients quickly and professionally and start them on the path to stability and well-being.

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