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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, 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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Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by Carrie Heinze

Onboarding Made Quick and Easy in Human Services

Time is of the essence.

It takes time to document information. It takes time to learn each child’s story. It takes time to build trust with families. And before all that can take place, it takes time to train workers on new technology.

But what if you could train caseworkers well and save time?

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Posted Thursday, February 14, 2019 by Rupam Chokshi

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
technology is sweet,
but is it really helping you?

You know that technology has the potential to modernize service delivery and drastically alter how you interact with clients. Too often though, human services agencies commit to technology that doesn’t end up delivering on the value it promises.

Below is a list of questions that can help you determine if your tools and processes are providing the results you need. If not, it may be time to break up with your current vendor and explore a new relationship with a better partner instead.

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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, October 23, 2018 by Rupam Chokshi

Building Better, Faster, More Impactful Solutions for Human Services

At Northwoods, we talk a lot about “designing solutions around you.” But, what does that really mean?

As one of APHSA’s 2018 Emerging Leaders, I was invited to give a presentation at the annual ISM conference showcasing something that Northwoods has done to advance health and human services (HHS).

I chose to share a methodology that is at the core of how we operate and do business.

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Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2018 by Aaron Caldwell

Why Cybersecurity Matters Even if It’s Not Your Job

“As the lines between our work and daily lives become increasingly blurred, it is more important than ever to be certain that smart cybersecurity carries over between the two.” - National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and if you haven’t thought about cybersecurity yet, here’s why you should: 

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