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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, December 15, 2020 by Team Northwoods

Readers' Choice Recap: Top Blog Posts of 2020

As another year comes to a close (thank goodness!), it's time to recap our top blogs of 2020.

Below is a countdown of this year's posts that our readers found most insightful. Remember, you can subscribe any time to make sure you never miss out on future content.

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Posted Monday, October 5, 2020 by Chuck Barber

How Mesa County is Using Traverse to Strengthen Families: A Case Study

"A system like this is absolutely needed to support caseworkers to do what I believe they are walking through the door to do. That's to keep kids safe, to find them permanency, and to assist families in being healthy and self-sufficient."

When asked why Mesa County Department of Human Services (DHS) chose to implement Northwoods’ child welfare solution Traverse®, Child Welfare Director Joe Kellerby said it’s because agency leadership believed the software could empower caseworkers to meet the goals above. How? By minimizing administrative burdens to enhance critical work, thus allowing caseworkers to fully focus on building trust, engaging families, and reducing trauma.

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Posted Monday, July 27, 2020 by Chuck Barber

Child Welfare Agencies Can't Live Without Traverse. Here's Why.

Traverse®—Northwoods' content collection and case discovery software solution—digitizes entire case files and mobilizes content to enable social work from anywhere. It surfaces critical information to help child welfare teams manage the complexity of today’s cases. As a result, agencies can better meet performance measures and permanency goals.

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Posted Monday, April 27, 2020 by Rich Bowlen

Software to Support Remote Work: 5 Ways Traverse Helps Child Welfare

Technology can never replace human interaction in child welfare. And it shouldn’t. Connecting with children and families is fundamental to improving outcomes and well-being.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused many child welfare agencies to quickly pivot to support a remote workforce, and enable people to connect and share important information in new and different ways. Some child welfare experts predict connecting remotely will become part of the new normal for child welfare through things like video chats, collaboration apps, or instant messaging tools.

Traverse, Northwoods’ child welfare software, is empowering remote work across the country today, while supporting caseworkers’ efforts to provide critical service delivery, in a variety of ways. We put five best practices from agencies using Traverse into a 25-minute webinar. If you’re strapped for time, keep reading below.

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Posted Friday, April 3, 2020 by Lauren Hirka

Traverse Quick Tips for Remote Workers

To our Traverse® customers,

As essential services personnel, having the right tools in your toolbox is important as you need to access information quickly, wherever you might be.

To support you in your continuing efforts to keep children, families, and yourselves safe during this time, here are seven tips for making the most of Traverse.

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Posted Thursday, October 31, 2019 by Lauren Hirka

Don't Get Spooked by Artificial Intelligence for Child Welfare

Can artificial intelligence (AI) really help my caseworkers? Or is it all just a bunch of hocus pocus?

This is one of the most common questions we hear when introducing child welfare agencies to the concept of case discovery, which leverages AI. (Okay, maybe not the hocus pocus part … but come on, it’s Halloween!)

We interact with AI almost daily—think Siri, Alexa, or even your Roomba. It continues to gain traction in government and is seen as the emerging technology with the most potential by state chief information officers. Yet, the concept still seems scary in the context of child welfare.

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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 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 Thursday, December 6, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

Linking Technology, Dark Data, and Child Welfare Outcomes [ISM Session Recap]

In child welfare agencies across the country, social workers and front-line supervisors encounter significant obstacles when finding the best placement for a child in an emergency, are expected to evaluate every psychotropic medication use in youth in foster care, and face the seemingly impossible task of staying on top of cases that open and re-open over several years.

For some, innovative technology solutions have helped them to overcome these systemic barriers. Implementing a system of engagement designed to increase efficiency and improve service delivery, for example, has helped these agencies to take full advantage of their case content—collecting, analyzing, and displaying the critical data and information needed to make confident decisions about child safety.

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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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