“I want to thank the General Assembly for working tirelessly on legislation to improve DCS policies and practices so that the agency can serve the right child at the right time in the right way,” said Terry Stigdon, director of DCS.In June 2018, the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) gave DCS a report of 20 recommendations that came after a six-month examination of the department. CWG is a nonprofit organization that works to help children and families by implementing successful systems and practices within organizations.Recommendations from the report included improving the workplace culture, lightening the caseload for employees and increasing pay.Holcomb contracted with CWG after former DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura resigned in a letter critical of the administration, saying the agency didn’t have the resources to keep children safe.During the 2019 session, legislators passed two laws that address some of the issues raised in the outside report.Senate Enrolled Act 1, authored by Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem, provides more support for foster care families and in-home placement for children.House Enrolled Act 1006, authored by Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, extends the age foster children can receive services to 21, expands the definition of neglect and updates the DCS caseload standard to comply with national guidelines.Stigdon said that nearly a year after CWG delivered the final report all 20 of the outlined recommendations are either in progress or have been implemented.Stigdon said the annual turnover rate for family case managers is down nearly 19% due in part to the supplemental funding provided by Holcomb. In 2017, the turnover rate was nearly one in three while the rate dropped to almost one in four in 2018.Last year, Holcomb redirected $25 million from the state’s budget surplus to address some of the DCS issues. And lawmakers increased the DCS budget in the fiscal year 2020 by $243 million and by $223 million in fiscal year 2021 for a yearly allocation of more than $800 million.Holcomb said there have also been improvements in DCS culture, which was described in the CWG report as one of fear. Employees told investigators they were concerned that a single wrong step will bring catastrophic consequences and that their managers won’t have their backs in difficult situations.“What we continue to hear from the back office to the front lines is the culture has improved such that people are truly enjoying, not just seeing these numbers, these good numbers, the results come in, but the way that they’re affecting people’s lives,” he said.Stigdon said another indicator of culture change is people wanting to stay.“We now have family case managers that not only want to stay, but they’re doing the job that they signed up for because they’re caseloads are manageable,” she said. “They can spend time with families and help those families get to where they can be sustainable and healthy. And then we can get out of the way.”As of May 2019, DCS was 99% in compliance with the 12/17 caseload standard compared toJanuary 2018 when they were only 77% compliant. The 12/17 standard says case managers are supposed to have no more than 12 active cases and monitor no more than 17 children.Holcomb said the state has come a long way, but they’re not done.“One tragic case is too many, and we have to be ready to address every single case that comes to us and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re not shying away from any of these occurrences. We’re leaning into this work.”FOOTNOTE: Abrahm Hurt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalists.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail By Abrahm HurtTheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS—Staff turnover is down, caseload sizes are dropping and the ratio of supervisors to case managers has improved in the year since an outside review found numerous shortcomings in the Indiana Department of Child Services.Information and updates about the progress at DCS were shared Thursday when Gov. Eric Holcomb held a ceremonial signing of two child welfare bills passed in the 2019 legislative session that included support for foster care families and aligning with new practices.
Noah Cha Frank Franco cuts a customer’s hair in the LaFortune barbershop.“I grew up in a barbershop, my dad was a barber,” Franco said. “He made me go to barber school and then he wouldn’t hire me. He actually wanted me to use barbering to go through college, to pay my own way through college.” After attending barber school in Akron, Ohio, Franco enrolled in Kent State University. Shortly after graduating college, he was drafted into the army during the Vietnam War. He was actually drafted twice, once while he was still in school and once barely a month after his college graduation. “The first time they drafted me, I was in Cleveland at the center and I kept telling them, you can’t draft me because for 12 more hours, I’m a bonafide student, no matter what I’m taking,” Franco said. “So they sent me home. As soon as I graduated, wasn’t a month when I saw the mailman deliver something, and I saw him give it a second look, so I knew what it was. I went back up and they knew who I was.”Franco served from 1967-1969 at the Overseas Replacement Center in Fort Lewis, Washington. He got married when he realized that he was not going to be deployed overseas, and after he got out of the army in 1969, began to work in business. He moved to South Bend from his home in Ohio to work for a fluid controls manufacturing company. “I came to town to work for South Bend Controls,” Franco said. “I worked for a couple of companies, did some budgets for them but I got tired of working for companies and doing things for them.”Franco’s coming to Notre Dame is a story he says most people would not believe. “I was a little bit worried, out of work and some people won’t believe this but they say ND calls you,” Franco said. “In the middle of the night, I heard a voice telling me to get [myself] up here. So I was up here by 9:00 the next morning with that idea, only to learn that they already had a barbershop.”That barbershop was run by Joe D’Angelo, known among students as “ROTC Joe.” “The gentleman told me to come down and meet Joe D’Angelo, or ROTC Joe,” Franco said. “Joe and I got on pretty well, and he told me a secret nobody knew yet: he was retiring. And no one around the school knew that. That was 26 years ago and I’ve been here ever since.”After more than two and a half decades of cutting hair in LaFortune, and even more before that, Franco has his practice down to a science.“My routine is just to come, get ready and cut hair,” Franco said.Franco said he sees anywhere from 20 to 25 customers each day — mostly students, but a mix of faculty, clergy and other administration as well. “The haircut styles haven’t changed,” he said. “Not much has changed in the last 26 years. My pricing has changed, it’s gone up, but not a lot has changed.”Though not much about his haircuts has changed, the Notre Dame campus has changed a great deal in the past few decades. “The footprint has gotten much bigger,” Franco said. “If you think of a size 8 shoe [back then], I think it’s about a size fifteen now.” When asked what his favorite thing about cutting hair in LaFortune is, Franco said over everything else, he likes the variety of his job.“The atmosphere keeps me young, because I think I’m older than I look,” he said. “My wife will tell you I’m older than I act.”Tags: barber, barbershop, frank franco, LaFortune Student Center Nestled in the corner of the basement of LaFortune Student Center, amidst the wafting scents of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, sits the LaFortune barbershop. The small room is plastered in pictures of everything from the Golden Dome to motorcycles. On a table sits a red tin full of Hershey’s kisses for the women who pass through the shop. The iconic shop is home to barber Frank Franco, 76, who has been cutting hair at the University for 26 years.The art of cutting hair is a family business for Franco — his father was a barber as well in Franco’s hometown of Alliance, Ohio.
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image by Justin Gould / WNY News Now.ALBNAY – New York State is loosening some restrictions on gyms and salons located in orange COVID-19 containment zones.On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo held his second briefing via Zoom, where he stated that gyms and salons in Orange Zones can operate at a limited capacity of 25%, and testing must continue to be done.Cuomo says that 74% of the current COVID-19 cases in New York State have been spread from households or small gatherings.Previously they were not allowed to operate at all. Below is a list of statewide contact tracing data, showing where new cases are coming from:Private Households are driving spread – 74%Households/Social Gatherings – 73.84%Healthcare Delivery – 7.81%Higher Education Student – 2.02%Education Employee – 1.50%Restaurants & Bars – 1.43%Travel/Vacation – 1.06%Sports – 1.04%Public Sector (Police/Fire/EMS/Military) – 1%Transit Public/Private – 0.96%Manufacturing – 0.84%Religious Activities – 0.69%Construction – 0.66%Retail – 0.61%Professional Services – 0.55%Elementary School Student – 0.49%High School Student – 0.46%Prisons/Correctional – 0.43%Middle School Student – 0.19%Auto Dealers & Car Rentals – 0.16%Hair & Personal Care – 0.14%Wholesale Trade – 0.14%Building & Dwelling Services – 0.13%Real Estate – 0.10%Arts & Entertainment 0.08%Gyms – 0.06%Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry – 0.06%Childcare – 0.05%Power/Utilities – 0.05%Accommodations – 0.02%Media Production – 0.02%Cuomo says he plans to continue to crack down on COVID-19 spikes in specific areas and does not plan a statewide shutdown; unless state hospitalizations go above 90%.