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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 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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Posted Friday, May 3, 2019 by Greg Davis

Key Considerations When Integrating Human Services Technology

As government agencies get more comfortable with technology, a new challenge arises: integrating disparate systems to securely exchange data and information so agencies can use it to improve service delivery and make informed decisions. We invited Senior Solution Architect Greg Davis to give a peek behind the curtains at how our integration team helps customers connect their systems and data in a way that ultimately benefits both the agency and the communities it serves.

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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 Thursday, April 4, 2019 by Jason Wintersteller

Human-Centered Design: How Northwoods Builds Solutions Around You

Editor’s note: you’ve likely heard people talking quite a bit lately about “human-centered design” (or “user-centered design,” “user-experience (UX) design,” or other similar terms). While it might seem like a relatively new trend to some, it has been the foundation upon which Northwoods has developed and delivered our products for years. We invited our product design leader, Jason Wintersteller, to share a bit more about our human-centered design approach and how it influences everything we do.

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Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by Team Northwoods

An Essential Reading List for Human Services Agency Leaders

No matter how many different priorities human services agency leaders juggle, one thing always remains the same: wanting to deliver the best possible experience and outcomes for the families that rely on your agency’s services.

That means carving out time to research what trends, tools, and emerging technologies can have the most significant impact on the industry, as well as what can be learned from other agencies, programs, or states.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite government, human services, and technology websites to help you get ahead of the curve. You can also follow all the sites mentioned below (and more!) with our Twitter list.

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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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