Research Library

Our Research Library includes white papers, presentations, fact sheets, news articles, and templates from human services industry experts to help agencies implement technology in human services.

We’ve also reviewed each resource to help you:

  • Discover human services software solutions that work for your agency
  • Support your case for funding with stakeholders
  • Implement technology for caseworkers by gaining internal support

Note from the reviewer: My goal has always been a simple one: do the most good for the most children. As the former director of Fairfield County Child and Adult Protective Services in Ohio, I am fully aware of the administrative and direct service challenges associated with serving a community. In my role at Northwoods, I have the opportunity to share this Research Library, helping agencies discover new ways to overcome those challenges. I’ll add a new resource every few weeks, so check back or sign up to receive email notifications directly in your inbox.

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Research Library

  Title Author Last Modified            
Last year I was fortunate enough to visit more than 40 different child welfare agencies all over the United States. In each visit, there has been an expressed interest in what many of us know as the, “The Red Team” process. During these discussions with child protective services colleagues, I cannot help but get excited about this conversation. In fact, I am quickly taken back to when a few of my previous staff and I first traveled to Olmsted County, MN in 2009, to observe and learn the concept. Needless to say, we returned from our visit completely enthused. To this day, it is common practice in my former agency. Many agency representatives I have met with over the past 12 months have requested additional information about this process. The attached issue from UC Davis training academy outlines the process extremely well and includes additional articles that are very helpful when implementing Differential/Alternative Response.
A GOVERNING magazine article highlighting results from an informal poll of 20 officials from 17 states conducted by Government Technology. This article is great to share with staff within your organization. GOVERNING points to agency employees' fear of altering work habits and processes that have been in place for decades as the application of technology assumes a larger role. Additionally, the author points out the pitfalls that occur when an agency attempts to force new technology to work like the “old way of doing things.”
"For those working in the field of protective services, days can be long and very stressful. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the cumulative weight of never-ending paperwork along with the emotional strain zaps the energy out of the most mission-driven social workers. As a result, retention within the field of protective services is always a hot topic and agencies are constantly searching for ways to keep quality staff. This article highlights the importance of investing in capabilities that frontline staff find valuable and how that can go a long way in encouraging them to remain as part of your team. Additionally, this piece provides an interesting perspective on retention for organizations that have an increasing number of staff working remotely or are much more mobile due to demands of being in the field more than in the office."
Workitect is a great resource to review when working on projects. In addition to providing additional sources of information, Workitect provides walkthrough guidance complete with examples that make it easy for new managers to use within their own teams. While this piece references Chapter 5 – Managing Change, the entire Workitect competencies series ( merits review. This specific resource is helpful for leaders as they assemble their team to facilitate change, especially when identifying the skill sets necessary for quality managers who can effectively support their vision.
With today’s insurance rates continuing to climb and dwindling budgets, many agencies struggle to offer benefit packages and other perks that attract the best candidates. However, they may be overlooking an essential request today’s job candidates insist on seeing present in your organization. The best news about this demand is that it not only benefits the perspective employee, but the entire agency as well. So what is this advantage today’s top job candidates are looking for? They are interested in whether or not your agency or organization is making effective use of today’s technological tools in order to offer a better work environment and provide direct support to the frontline staff. After all, if you are looking for future employees that know how to work smarter, shouldn’t your agency demonstrate that as well? In the world of protective services, this is essential.
This is an older resource article (from 2009) regarding various considerations to review when preparing to implement technology within your organization. From time to time, administrators, directors, and project managers are simply looking for a place to start when introducing an initiative such as rolling out technology within their organization. This resource does a very nice job using examples within agencies that offer a great starting point for conversations with agency staff.
Successful recruitment and retention continues to be an area demanding significant resources from child welfare organizations. The difficulty in retaining staff goes beyond dealing with a revolving door, it has a devastating impact on the families and children relying on your agency for services. As I have met with numerous Protective Services Directors and administrative personnel over the past several months, nearly all have requested assistance in helping to put together their “business case” to help educate their board members, elected officials and community regarding the importance to invest in front line staff and supervisors. The accompanying article from the Journal of the National Center for youth Law provides a simplified top 11 list that can be very helpful to those having conversations with key stakeholders. One of the themes represented in this journal article is the importance to properly equip today’s social workers with the proper technology.
Great article and definitely worth the quick read. This blog effectively sums up what I have heard numerous, incredible, dedicated and committed social workers across the country verbalize. One of the statements offered in this article echoes statements made throughout child welfare agencies all over, “Child protection social work in particular has become so bureaucratic and paper-laden that 80% of a practitioner’s time is spent form-filling rather than supporting service users.” The author goes on to point out how this process contributes to high caseloads and long hours, which results in rapid burnout. There are also a number of supporting pieces associated with this article that are worth a click.
This piece is especially helpful for IT administrators and personnel in having conversations with agency program staff. The template includes worksheets with questions agencies are able to use as is or select portions that resonate most with the current situations. It also includes a skill readiness assessment for staff or end users. In addition to providing a series of questions, this document provides insight around why this list of questions is important to consider and provides an outline to follow in developing your technology plan. Many organizations have a plan to use technology, but assembling a thorough, well thought out technology plan to meet an organization’s immediate, short-term and long-term needs involves much more.
This white paper from Northwoods explores why the typical classroom-style approach to training does not work in child or adult protective services, where social workers are in the field dealing with difficult situations everyday. It outlines Northwoods' unique and distinct Coach Model training that provides an agency the ability to position itself for continued success long after implementation. The Coach Model is specifically designed for protective services to reduce frustration and increase the likelihood that social workers will completely adopt new technology, so agencies can maximize their technology investment.