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Secretary's Message

November 30, 2012

Wansley WaltersDear DJJ team members:

Welcome to my weekly letter. I hope you had a pleasant Thanksgiving holiday. Please allow me to share some recent news and announcements.


ROADMAP UPDATE: On Tuesday, we took the Roadmap to System Excellence to Gainesville, where senior staff and I conducted the second in a series of editorial board visits, stakeholder meetings and Town Hall meetings across Florida. The Town Hall meeting at Santa Fe College drew more than 130 attendees. Click here for news coverage of the Gainesville visit and click here for a guest column in today’s Gainesville Sun supporting the Roadmap. Next Roadmap stops are Orlando (Dec. 3), Tampa (Dec. 4) and St. Petersburg (Dec. 5). Click here for a detailed schedule of Town Hall meetings through Dec. 20. Please join me at a Town Hall meeting in your community if your schedule permits.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Next week marks the first committee week of the 2013 legislative session. DJJ will present a brief overview of the agency and our 2013 legislative priorities to the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice and House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Our legislative team will also meet with the chairs of these committees along with other legislators to discuss agency issues and our Roadmap to System Excellence

DJJ CRIMINOLOGISTS PRESENT FINDINGS: An important aspect of juvenile justice reform is making sure improvements are supported by research and data. Earlier this month, Jennifer Rechichi, Quality Improvement (QI) bureau chief and QI staff Dr. Michael Baglivio presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) in Chicago. The theme of the meeting was “Thinking About Context: Challenges for Crime and Justice” and attracted thousands of leading researchers from various disciplines around the world. Jennifer and Michael presented two research papers specific to DJJ at the meeting. One paper presented was: “Predictive validity of the Florida Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) risk assessment: An examination of the influence of dispositional placement and individual criminal and social history indicators,” which discussed the results of a validation study conducted by the Justice Research Center, an independent agency in Tallahassee. The study further illustrated how the PACT works as intended for all youth served by DJJ. The second paper, “Evaluating the effectiveness of a victim impact intervention through examination of dynamic risk score changes,” highlighted the findings of DJJ’s own research. Click here to learn more about ASC. Special thanks to Jennifer and Michael for spreading the message of reform to this influential audience. 

DETENTION KUDOS: Christi Stua, acting superintendent at Marion Regional Juvenile Detention Center, shares the following update: “Our annual Thanksgiving luncheon was a success….we had a number of parents come today to have a nice, sit down holiday meal with their kids. We also had some of our partners from Probation come to eat with the youth who did not have guests. Special thanks to our food service staff for making a delicious meal and extra-special thanks to food service worker Ms. Henry, who made peach cobbler, pumpkin pie and pound cake for everyone to enjoy!”

NOMINATIONS FOR 2013 YOUTH COMMISSION: The Florida Youth Commission “Teens Only” Town Hall Meeting provides a forum and voice to high school students across the state to work together with the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet to address important issues relating to children's services. If you know a high school student who should be nominated for the 2013 Youth Commission, please complete the "Teens Only" Town Hall Meeting and Youth Commission Nomination Form and submit by Jan. 11, 2013. Selected students will attend the Florida Youth Commission "Teens Only" Town Hall Meeting on April 9, 2013 in Tallahassee and serve a one-year term as a member of the Youth Commission to Florida's Children and Youth Cabinet. For more information click here.

STATE LIBRARY OFFERS RESOURCES: Our colleagues at the Florida Department of State encourage all state employees to register for an electronic library card and take advantage of the resources offered by the State Library and Archives (click here for a message from Secretary of State Ken Detzner about these resources). An electronic library card from the State Library provides convenient, anytime, anywhere access to valuable services such as research assistance, library borrowing privileges (with delivery of your book or article directly to your desk) and access to a collection of databases offering full-text magazine, journal and newspaper articles. You can sign up for your e-card online. If you already have a State Library card, you do not need to register for a new one. You may access the State Library and Archives’ online services using the last six digits of your card number in the login box on the electronic databases page. Take a moment to register now. For additional information or services, call the State Library and Archives at 850.245.6680 or visit online

VOTE FOR A NEW LICENSE PLATE: The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles invites the public to vote online for the design of Florida’s next license plate! Choose your favorite from the four designs at www.Vote4FloridaTag.com through Dec. 14.

HOLIDAY PHOTOS WANTED: If you are performing work-related community service during the holidays (such as tending the Salvation Army kettle, organizing food drives or helping those in need in some way), I would like to know about it. Please share photos of you or your colleagues helping out during the holidays, with a brief explanation of who is doing what, and they will be published in my Dec. 21 weekly letter and on DJJ’s Facebook page. Please submit your holiday photos and captions to news@djj.state.fl.us.

Thanks to all for your hard work to make Florida a national leader in humane and effective juvenile justice administration.



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.