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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, October 23, 2019 by Mark Washington

9 Tips for Financing Human Services Technology Projects

Editor's note: this post was originally published on August 15, 2017. We recently refreshed the list to give you twice the amount of helpful tips! 

Human services agencies face several hurdles when it comes to investing in technology.

Yet, even when resources are limited, it’s not impossible to come up with the money to purchase and maintain innovative technology solutions. (Plus, the short-term cost won’t seem so bad once you realize the long-term value of your investment!)

All it takes is a little upfront planning and creative thinking.

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Posted Monday, October 14, 2019 by Lauren Hirka

Meeting Users Where They Are: Designing Technology for Enhanced Engagement

At Northwoods, we are focused on starting with why. I believe starting with why provides a constant reminder for the team of the collective goal we are all working toward, which is ultimately to improve outcomes for children and families by empowering the practice.

To do this, we need to meet the user where they are—both physically, and in terms of practice.

As one of APHSA’s 2019 Emerging Leaders, I was invited to present a poster at the annual ISM conference showcasing a solution that Northwoods has implemented.

I chose to present on this topic, Meeting Users Where They Are, because it influences every solution and service we offer.

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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 Wednesday, September 4, 2019 by Team Northwoods

The Northwoods Guide to IT Solutions Management (ISM) 2019

APHSA’s IT Solutions Management (ISM) for Human Services Conference is hands down one of our favorite conferences of the year. It’s a great opportunity to hear from experts at all levels of government about the most important IT topics and innovations impacting human services.

That said, we know ISM can also be overwhelming—especially if you’ve never been before.

We asked our team to share their advice to help you make the most of the 2019 conference, including tips for first-time attendees, sessions we suggest adding to your agenda, and of course, all the ways you can connect with Northwoods. We look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee!

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Posted Wednesday, August 28, 2019 by Greg Tipping

Total Integration of Human Services: Does Child Support Hold the Key?

“Child support is for the child. To do right by the child, sometimes you have to make sure the parents are okay.”

This quote was shared during a session on the future of human services program delivery at last week’s National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) Leadership Symposium. It resonates with me because it underscores how all areas of human services are connected. Sure, each program may have its own policies and processes, but at the end of the day they’re ultimately serving the same people, and we need to start treating them that way.

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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 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 Friday, July 12, 2019 by Chris Carlson

HSITAG: Bringing Positive Change to Health and Human Services

“Partnership is how we’re going to elevate Ohio to the next level.” – Ervan Rodgers, Chief Information Officer and Assistant Director, State of Ohio

In June, Columbus had the honor of hosting one of the monthly Human Services Information Technology Advisory Group (HSITAG) Public Sector Council Meetings at the iconic Ohio Statehouse.

State CIO Ervan Rodgers, along with Ohio Job and Family Service Directors’ Association (OJFSDA) Executive Director Joel Potts and RecoveryOhio Director Alisha Nelson, talked about some of the most significant IT initiatives underway in Ohio to modernize how our government delivers and coordinates services.

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Posted Friday, June 14, 2019 by Chuck Barber

Empowering Adult & Aging Caseworkers with Information to Support Elder Abuse Prevention Efforts

Elder abuse has been called the “silent epidemic of our time” as cases of physical abuse, financial exploitation, and other mistreatment continue to increase in many areas across the country. That’s why World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)—acknowledged annually on June 15—is a call-to-action for society’s individuals, organizations, and communities to educate each other on how to identify, address, and prevent abuse.

As a technology company, we’re big believers that giving adult & aging caseworkers the right tools to collect, access, and surface the right information at the right time will play a key role in facilitating an agency’s ability to accomplish this goal.

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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. Processes change. Time passes. If the way you use technology doesn’t keep up with the way you work, the efficiencies and time savings you once gained may slowly trickle away.

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