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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, October 18, 2021 by Laura Haffield

Change is Hard, Even in Human Services—Here’s How to Ease the Burden

Change is hard, even for people in human services whose entire jobs are affecting change in others. Change is hard for everyone, maybe especially for social workers (and the people who support them) whose jobs are already so difficult.

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Posted Thursday, September 30, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Connecting Caseworkers, Clients, and Service Providers to Speed Up Service Delivery

Human services caseworkers are constantly collaborating with people outside the agency yet lack the right tools to support the process. Consider these examples:

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Posted Friday, September 17, 2021 by Rich Bowlen

Finding the Way Forward: What's Next for Human Services?

How do you plan for the “new normal” when normalcy no longer exists?

Yes, it’s a bold question and a tough concept to consider. But it’s reality. As I have continued to meet with numerous directors of local and state agencies throughout the country, there is still a lot of uncertainty and confusion.

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Posted Monday, August 23, 2021 by Jason Wintersteller

Build vs. Buy: Why COTS is the Smarter Choice for Human Services

Many human services agencies falsely believe their technology needs are so unique to justify building their own custom solution. In the long run, however, this could be a very costly mistake. A commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) product that can be configured to meet your needs and evolve over time can almost always do the job—with a considerably smaller strain on resources and faster time to value.

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Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Answering Your Commonly Asked Cloud Questions for Human Services

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. Human services is recognized as a top candidate for cloud migration, but there are still plenty of counties and 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 Thursday, May 6, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Can County Human Services Agencies Use Funds from the American Rescue Plan for Technology?

The answer is: no, the U.S. Treasury’s Quick Reference Guide does not list technology modernization as an allowable use of funds. But, neither does it list technology modernization as an ineligible use of funds. Since recipients have broad flexibility to determine how to best use this funding to meet the needs of their communities, it may help free up other resources for technology instead. Here’s how.

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Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2021 by Michael Drabek

Think You're Ready to Buy Human Services Technology? Think Again.

“It’s easy to make things hard. It’s hard to make things easy.”

This adage rings true for human services in many ways, especially when it comes to purchasing and implementing technology. The process can be complicated for anyone, but if your agency overlooks certain key steps or considerations along the way, it becomes that much harder.

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Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2021 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. 

Just as two solutions are never quite the same, neither are two vendors that provide them. Even if companies (or their tools) look similar on paper, dig a little deeper and you’ll find subtle nuances in how each one approaches their business. It’s these nuances that will have a significant impact on your project’s success.

Below is a list of questions that can help you separate a strategic partner who truly wants to help your organization grow over time from a run-of-the-mill vendor that’ll move on as soon as your transaction is complete.

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Posted Thursday, January 28, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

Answering Your Coronavirus Relief Fund Questions for Human Services

Editor's note: The deadline to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund has been extended to Dec. 30, 2021, and this post has been updated to reflect that change.

While the Coronavirus Relief Fund established under the CARES Act is meant to provide much needed aid to state and local governments tasked with responding to COVID-19, questions remain about how the money can be properly spent.

We’ve spoken to human services directors in several states about using the Fund to improve telework capabilities for public employees to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions.

Time is of the essence to help your frontline staff continue serving your community safely, so we’ve answered some common questions around how to take advantage of relief funds below.

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Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by Team Northwoods

Can't Miss Conferences for Human Services in 2021

Over the past five years, this blog post has become a go-to resource for readers looking for information about the best industry conferences to keep up to date on key issues, trends, and topics impacting human services.  

Well, like many things, COVID-19 forced many of the conferences and events we would typically recommend to cancel or transition to virtual events last year. Since things are still uncertain as we head into the new year, many organizations are still figuring out their plans for moving forward. The good news is, a lot of virtual events and learning opportunities have also emerged to fill the void. 


This year may look a little different, but we still want to provide some recommendations to help you find the best events to fill your schedule
in person or virtually. We’ll continue to update this list throughout the year as new information and opportunities become available. 

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