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COVID-19  DJJ Information and Resources

Frequently Asked Questions:  DJJ COVID-19 Response

How is DJJ making sure that COVID-19 is not being introduced into its facilities?

Since the very beginning of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Florida, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has coordinated a comprehensive response to keep all youth and staff safe. In response to this pandemic, DJJ took the following actions:

  • Developed COVID-19 guidance for all facilities serving DJJ youth, including Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria on how to assess and care for youth exhibiting flu-like symptoms and environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
  • Modified our screening protocols and procedures for youth taken into custody by law enforcement who are brought to juvenile assessment centers and detention screening units to include precautionary coronavirus screening questions and protocols.
  • Instituted additional screening measures for outside vendors and personnel who work within juvenile facilities.
  • Issued an emergency order that suspends visitation at all state-operated juvenile detention centers and juvenile residential commitment programs and instituted additional screening measures for essential personnel who work within juvenile facilities. Both detention centers and residential commitment programs have worked diligently to maintain regular telephone communication, and if feasible video conferencing, between youth and their families.
  • Developed and disseminated pandemic plans for all state-operated juvenile detention centers. Residential commitment providers have developed individual plans for juvenile residential commitment programs. All plans are in keeping with CDC guidelines.

Ongoing measures include the following:

  • Youth entering a detention facility must first complete a precautionary clearance form, which has been adapted to cover the symptoms and screening questions for COVID-19. All youth admitted into a residential commitment program are screened prior to leaving the detention center and then again upon their arrival to the residential commitment program.
  • All staff that work in DJJ detention centers and residential commitment programs are screened daily prior to entering the facility. If a staff presents with flu-like symptoms, they are denied entry and are instructed to contact their health care provider. Staff will not be permitted to return to work until they have been cleared by a medical professional. Essential personnel as outlined in DJJ’s emergency order continue to be screened daily prior to entry.
  • Our detention centers and residential commitment programs have all implemented cleaning and sanitation plans to reduce the risk of spreading germs or contaminating surfaces.

Are youth in DJJ facilities being monitored for COVID-19?

Yes, any youth displaying flu-like symptoms will be seen by the medical staff on-site and screened appropriately as outlined by medical procedure. Youth are continuously monitored for these symptoms.

Are the youth going to school? How?

Each school district has developed instructional and academic continuity learning plans. Blended learning conducted in a classroom or face to face setting is restricted to groups of less than 10 along with appropriate social distancing measures. Virtual or other non-classroom-based means, such as distance learning is used as feasible and appropriate.

How are juvenile probation officers supervising youth in the community?

The required frequency of contact (based on the youth’s risk level, or youth’s status) is being maintained during this period. Temporary alternative contact measures for juvenile probation officers making face-to-face visits with youth/families are in place until otherwise directed. These measures include telephone calls, contact via FaceTime/Skype, and “drive ups.”

Are youth and staff in DJJ programs and facilities practicing social distancing?

Yes, youth and staff are practicing social distancing to the extent possible at DJJ facilities. This includes keeping youth in small groups of less than 10 and six feet apart per CDC guidelines.

Is DJJ equipped to handle a youth who tests positive for COVID-19?

Yes, if a youth becomes ill or symptomatic, each facility, as part of their pandemic plan, has procedures in place on how to handle isolating and providing medical treatment to a youth.

COVID-19 DJJ Information and Resources

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)’s number one priority continues to be the health and safety of the youth in our custody and the staff who care for them.

As our state continues to respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), we must ensure our agency is doing all it can to help in this fight. DJJ will continue to assess the safety of its facilities and will restore visitation with modifications to the normal procedures when it is safe to do so. Parents and guardians will be contacted directly regarding the visitation schedule and the screening criteria for their child’s specific facility when modified visitation is restored.

We will continue to ensure frequent communication between youth and their families. All facility staff, along with essential personnel and vendors who work within the juvenile facilities, will continue to be screened daily prior to entry. Clinical personnel are still permitted to visit youth for treatment purposes, instructional personnel are permitted to provide educational services, and attorneys are permitted to conduct legal visits with youth. We will continue to closely monitor the health and safety of children inside our facilities to ensure they receive any necessary medical attention related to COVID-19. Thank you for your patience as we work to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19.

DJJ Letter to Families and Loved Ones of Youth in our Care

Parents or family members with questions about visitation should contact the facility where their child is located. You can locate contact information here: http://www.djj.state.fl.us/programs-facilities  Information regarding COVID-19 cases in DJJ facilities can be located on our press releases page.

Department of Juvenile Justice COVID-19 Press Releases

DJJ Press Releases

Additional Resources