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Secretary's Message

August 3, 2012

Wansley Walters

Dear DJJ team members:


Welcome to my weekly letter. Please allow me to share some recent news and announcements.


NEW CHIEF OF CONTRACTS: I am pleased to announce the appointment of Delanah Gebhart as DJJ’s Chief of Contracts. She replaces Elaine Atwood, who will serve as a procurement manager for key projects. I am grateful to Elaine’s continued service at DJJ. Delanah has extensive experience in managing state procurement and contracting policies and practices. She has served at several state agencies, including the Florida Department of Education, Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration. Her most recent position was at DOE where she oversaw procurement and contracting at the Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers. Delanah received her undergraduate and master of business administration degrees from Baker College and she is a Certified Contract Administrator by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing. She will play a key role as we continue reforming our procurement process to put kids first. Her first day at DJJ is today. Please welcome Delanah to her new responsibilities.

WORKING SMARTER: Probation Senior Management Analyst Colleene Scott recently shared information about the Probation Advisory Team (PAT), which empowers staff to put good ideas into practice. The PAT is composed of administrative support staff, juvenile probation officers (JPOs), senior JPOs and JPO supervisors. The team develops ideas on how to help youth more effectively and efficiently, and identifies and shares best practices that foster better working relationships between and among staff and youth. An anticipated benefit is improved morale and better communication between youth, staff and management. Originally formed in 2005, the PAT was dormant for the past few years until it was reinstated in April 2012 by Assistant Secretary for Probation and Community Intervention Michael McCaffrey. One PAT team contribution has been to identify notebook computers as a possible tool for JPOs. Currently, 10 notebook computers are being tested for their usefulness in allowing JPOs in the field to immediately access youth information in the Juvenile Justice Information System and details on community-based intervention services, and to supervise youth on electronic monitoring (ankle monitors).

PAT Members

South Region



Circuit 11

Andrea Williams

Administrative Support

Circuit 11

Steve Szelwack


Circuit 19

Sharon Coplin

JPO Supervisor

Central Region



Circuit 9

Connie Coffey

Administrative Support

Circuit 9

Dawn Curtis


Circuit 12

Paul Sheffer

JPO Supervisor

North Region



Circuit 14

Laurie Ward

Administrative Support

Circuit 2

Sanshell Bussey


Circuit 1

Dan Bears

JPO Supervisor




Circuit 8

TiAnna Greene

Administrative Support

Circuit 7

Christopher Massey


Circuit 8

Alan Guthrie

JPO Supervisor




Headquarters (HQ)

Colisha Thomas

Administrative Assistant to Michael McCaffrey


Colleene Scott

HQ- PAT Coordinator


Jeannie Becker-Powell

Director of Policy and Programming


Michael McCaffrey

Assistant Secretary for Probation & Community Intervention


RESIDENTIAL KUDOS: Circuit 18 Chief Probation Officer Dan Rodgers praises Residential Analyst Laura Adams for her work in optimizing DJJ’s rate agreements with mental health and substance abuse counseling services to connect probationary youth with help in their communities. How does this benefit kids? Misdemeanant youth have a chance to receive counseling services while on probation, giving judges an effective alternative to Residential placement. It gives kids with low-level offenses the help they need without bringing them into the deeper and more expensive end of the juvenile justice system. Probation sends Laura the alternative plan and she works diligently for each child to ensure counseling is pre-approved with the service provider. To a child, Laura’s work can mean the difference between a judge’s order for Probation or Residential placement. Laura, who has been with DJJ since 1999, estimates that approximately 200 youth have benefited from the probation-counseling alternative since she took on the job a year ago. Laura says, “It’s not just a job. I’m thankful for the opportunity to help them get the services they need.” Dan says, “In every instance, Laura has responded quickly and with caring and compassion for the youth we serve. Laura deserves our public thanks for helping fund our requests for alternatives to commitment.” Assistant Secretary for Residential Services Laura Moneyham echoes Dan’s praise, saying, “Laura is a wonderful person. She cares about the kids so much and helping them is important to her. I think she has really found her niche.” To Laura Adams, thank you for finding ways to help youth achieve a better future.   

DETENTION KIDS LEARN ABOUT OLYMPICS: Students at the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center are excited about the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. They have been learning about the history of the games and the meaning of the Olympic rings. Each youth selected a country participating in the games and researched its location, history and significance of its flag. They gave presentations about the country, including its location, language and economy. The students then graded each other’s presentations. The kids are charting the medal counts for their chosen country using a triple bar graph. They are also charting the gold, silver and bronze medals earned daily by the U.S. team. The students will be watching taped segments of the games and following their favorite athletes as they go for the gold in London.    

YOUR OPINION COUNTS: The Office of Probation and Community Intervention seeks feedback from community partners, providers, families, staff and others involved with the juvenile justice system via online surveys. Here is the link to access the survey directly: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/T-Services. Two additional surveys are also offered: one for youth in Residential commitment http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Trans-Res as well as youth on Conditional Release or Post Commitment Probation within the first 30-45 days following release from a Residential program http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/youthsupervision. We ask that you help us identify needed resources in communities throughout the state for youth transitioning home from Residential commitment. Thank you for your cooperation.

SALES TAX HOLIDAY: This year the Legislature authorized a three-day back to school sales tax holiday starting today through Sunday, August 5. Floridians will be able to purchase specific school supplies that cost $15 or less and clothing and footwear that cost $75 or less without paying state and local taxes. For further information about the sales tax holiday, including a list of exempt items and frequently asked questions, go to http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/ and scroll down to the Current Topics box.

 SAVE THE DATE: The “Our Children, Our Future: Restoring Hope” National Faith Symposium will be held October 23-26 at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando. More details will be announced later, but in the meantime, please call Andy Hindman at 850.410.2577 or email Andy.Hindman@djj.state.fl.us if you would like additional information on this event.  

CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY REMINDER: Florida’s primary election is on August 14 and the general election is on November 6, so now is a good time to heed the following reminder from DJJ’s General Counsel’s Office. While employees and citizens are welcome to exercise their right to participate in campaign activities, political activity must not take place on state property and may only be conducted during personal time. State resources cannot be used to make photocopies, telephone calls, raise funds or engage in other activities related to elections. For details, please refer to sections 104.31, 106.15, and 112.313 of Florida Statutes.

As always, thank you for the work you do to make Florida’s juvenile justice system the best in the nation.



Wansley Walters



PS: Please send any noteworthy or newsworthy items for consideration in my weekly letter to Communications Director C. J. Drake at cj.drake@djj.state.fl.us or call 850.921.5905. Submissions are considered on a space-available basis and may be edited for clarity and length. Thank you for your cooperation.