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Secretary's Message

August 8, 2014

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter

I am sincerely grateful for the hard work and steadfast dedication to this agency from those who work in juvenile justice across the state and I am proud to share every week the great work occurring here at the Department of Juvenile Justice and that of our partners. I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our colleagues and the youth in our care. I am always looking for opportunities to showcase the work you do – on and off the clock – to enrich your communities. I know there is even more going on than what I report here, so I would like to encourage each of you to keep the weekly letter in mind and remember to share your good news. It’s easy – email news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon (submissions after that time will be considered for the next week’s letter).


Christina K. Daly

 Call for nominations for the 2014 Human Trafficking Prevention Awards

The Florida Human Trafficking Summit announces the call for nominations for the 2014 Human Trafficking Prevention Awards.

The Human Trafficking Summit, scheduled for October 9-10, will take place at the Marshall Student Center on the campus of the University of South Florida. For the third year, the Summit will honor outstanding citizens for their efforts to end human trafficking in Florida. This year’s awards include the following categories: Survivor Advocate of the Year, Community Advocate of the Year, Prosecutor of the Year, and Law Enforcement Official of the Year. 

For more information on the awards and to access the nomination criteria please visit DJJ’s Human Trafficking Summit website at www.djj.state.fl.us/humantraffickingsummit/awards.

Nominations must be submitted as an attachment in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat format to: HTSummit@djj.state.fl.us no later than August 22, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.

Back to School Events

In the upcoming weeks, children across the state of Florida will be back in the classroom for the upcoming school year. Many of our youth will be in need of school supplies to help them succeed in their academic goals. In the coming week, many of our DJJ Probation and Prevention teams across the state will be hosting or participating in Back to School events in their local communities. I encourage you all to visit our social media pages-Facebook and Twitter to find events happening in your area and urge the youth in your care to attend. DJJ is dedicated to community engagement throughout the state and this is another example of our commitment to the youth and families we serve.  On behalf of the entire Executive Leadership Team, I want to thank all of our staff for their participation with these community events. 

Volunteer Florida

On Tuesday, I met with Chester Spellman, CEO of Volunteer Florida. We had a productive discussion on the many ways Volunteer Florida and DJJ could work together to serve the at-risk youth in our state. Volunteer Florida strengthens Florida’s communities through national service, fostering volunteerism and leveraging resources, and I am excited about the possibilities of partnering with them. Volunteer Florida’s vision is to have Floridians engaged and communities transformed in an effort to make Florida a better place to live.

Residential Update

In 2011, Donald Lasseter, program director of the JUST (Juvenile Unit for Specialized Treatment) program, located in Liberty County not far from the Apalachicola River, developed the idea of building a boathouse for the young men in the JUST program to enjoy.  JUST is a nonsecure program for males, ages 13 to 17, which is operated by Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc.

The boys in the program came up with a plan to overcome the obstacle of construction and maintenance costs through fundraising that involves the vocation department.  The youths design, construct and sell items such as grills, fire pits, Adirondack chairs, benches and picnic tables.  

The project became an incentive and vocation project once a week. 

For the past three years while on site, the youths and instructors worked a half a day on the boathouse and then they enjoyed some leisure activities, such as fishing, swimming and cooking food on the grill. 

Recently, JUST completed the boat house project as shown in the photo to the right.

Residential South Region Conducts Quarterly Program Directors’ Meeting

On July 22, at the Clayton Hutchinson Agricultural Center in West Palm Beach, the Residential South Regional Director Lois Salton hosted the first quarterly meeting for residential program directors.  This was also the first meeting of all the program directors since the implementation of the Shared Services Pilot that began in April.  Lois was joined by DJJ regional staff members, Commitment Chief Erna Foushee, Operations SMA-II Johnny Richardson, and Operations Specialist Sophia Ifill

Those in attendance learned from Lois and her staff the latest information about DJJ issues and initiatives, commitment and placement, the region’s continuity of operations plan (COOP), and general operations information.  The program directors provided progress reports on the implementation of their normalcy plans, family involvement activities, community advisory board activities, youth graduations, and efforts made to improve program initiatives and operations.  The 15 residential programs currently in the South Region are operated by three contracted providers:  AMIkids, Inc.; G4S Youth Services, LLC; and Youth Services International, Inc.

Shown here are representatives from the South Region Residential programs:  Pamela Rollins, director, and Sherry Tyson, assistant director, Broward Girls Academy; LaToya Jackson-Singletary, director and Carmita Rosenberg, assistant director, Broward Youth Treatment Center; Manny Alvarez, administrator, Dade Juvenile Residential Facility; Tessie Watts, administrator, Martin Girls Academy; John Fletcher, administrator, Miami Youth Academy; Alicia Woulard, administrator, Okeechobee Girls Academy; Darius Poitier, program director, Okeechobee Intensive Halfway House, and representing Bill Jordan, facility administrator of the Okeechobee Youth Development Center / Youth Treatment Center / Youth Correctional Center / Juvenile Offender Correctional Center; Travis Jean-Claude, administrator, Palm Beach Juvenile Correctional Facility; Tameko Gore, director, Pompano Youth Treatment Center; and representing Youth Services International, Inc., were Sr. Vice President Michael Slattery and Regional Director Jasir Diab.

 Residential South Region Volunteers with Local C.E.R.T.

In an ongoing effort to ensure the continuity of services with various local Community Emergency Response Teams (C.E.R.T.), Residential South Region Operations SMA-II Johnny Richardson volunteers with the City of Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue C.E.R.T. Station 2/8, while also helping Broward County Emergency Management Division to better prepare for disaster response and provides needed supplies and services to affected people.  On July 26, Johnny served with 12 other C.E.R.T. members from around the city to assist the Broward County Emergency Operations Services with packing Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) into 15 mobile carts. 

Photo above:  Eleven of the 12 C.E.R.T. members, at the end of four hours of hard labor, volunteering to pack the gray carts in the background (left), and the blue tarp-covered racks (shown right).  SMA –II Johnny Richardson is standing in the rear on the right.

Above left:  Outreach Specialist Camile Campbell (left) and Regulatory Compliance Outreach & Training Section Chief Ginny Hazen (right) with the Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department of the Broward County Emergency Management Division, take photos of the team’s efforts.  Shown center:  In the event of an emergency, the mobile carts are used to store and easily move equipment such as wheelchairs, portable toilets, walking canes, emergency power equipment, and walkers.  Shown right:  These tarp-covered racks store three types of cots and are designed for easy transportation and quick set up at evacuation shelters. 

The following is an email from Broward County Emergency Management to City of Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue CERT Chief:

From: Hazen, Ginny

To: Freddy Zelaya (FZelaya@fortlauderdale.gov)

Subject: CERT Team/July 26 Warehouse Packing Project


I wanted to tell you what a wonderful experience it was to work with your CERT Team at the 64th Street Warehouse last Saturday.  Every one of them showed initiative and added to the success of the project.

They were able to use problem-solving skills to make decisions that made the end result much better than envisioned in original plans.  Clifton Day and Ron Cuniff showed strong leadership skills and Erica Lowther pulled together the administrative aspects very effectively.  But all of them:  Michael Matos, Dave Winfield, Johnny Richardson, Carlos Isava, Joel Wein, Terrell Becker, Steve Stahl, Frank Miller and Marco Cardenas did an outstanding job in unpacking cartons, organizing supply piles, packing mobile carts and packing cot carts.  The end result is a beautiful thing and will make transport to another warehouse location much simpler.  I cannot say enough about the value of their assistance.  It proved to me that in a disaster response they would be indispensable.

They worked with us from 7:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (first arrival to last departure).  They even provided security for Camile and I until we could leave.  Thank you so much for offering and coordinating their assistance.

I wanted to also celebrate Camile Campbell from my office as the one who steered the ship in the warehouse.  I had the P-card and the vehicle, so I ran gopher duty and cleaned the bathrooms.  Somebody had to do it!


Ginny Hazen, MNM, MEP

Regulatory Compliance, Outreach & Training Section Chief

Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department

Broward Emergency Management Division

201 NW 84th Avenue

Plantation, Florida  33324-1895


Hurricane season continues through November 30th.  Broward County like all Florida counties have direct responsibility to be prepared and provided emergency shelter, supplies and services to those in need.

Detention Update

Last Thursday, the Palm Beach JDC hosted the dedication of the Hydroponic Garden Project. Over 50 guests were in attendance for the dedication ceremony and luncheon including representatives from the 15th Judicial Circuit, the Circuit Advisory Board, school board members, DCF staff and volunteers. Superintendent Douglas Kane gave the distinguished guests an overview of the project followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony where the project was dedicated to the children of Palm Beach County. A hearty lunch was served to all the guests and salad was certainly on the menu.

(Left) L to R: Honorable judge Ronald Alvarez, Honorable Judge Kathleen Kroll, Superintendent Douglas Kane, Detention Services South Regional Director Dr. Gladys Negron, Shirlon McCarty- Reform Specialist, Kathy Demosthenes- JDAI coordinator, Youth JW. 

The project is officially dedicated to……THE CHILDREN OF PALM BEACH COUNTY.


L to R:  Youth JW, Honorable judge Ronald Alvarez, Honorable Judge Kathleen Kroll, Superintendent Douglas Kane, Detention Services South Regional Director Dr. Gladys Negron, Shirlon McCarty- Reform Specialist, Kathy Demosthenes- JDAI coordinator, Youth AJ.

“Showing off the Green Thumbs”

Earlier this year, the youth at the Pinellas RJDC started a garden on the grounds at the facility. As you can see by the picture, they are now able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Our youth cultivated plum tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and broccoli and last week the kitchen manager at Pinellas used these vegetables to make a salad for the youth who participated. 

Prevention Update

The Calhoun County Children’s Coalition in Circuit 14 hosted their 16th Annual Family Affair Day at the W.T. Neal Civic Center in Blountstown last Saturday. The purpose of Family Affair Day was to educate and inform families of services available in the community. The coalition also uses this event to provide children from deserving families with school supplies. Attendance this year was estimated to be around 750 people, with 350 children between the ages of K-12th grades receiving school supplies.  Children also enjoyed pony rides, face painting, moonwalk and a giant slide in addition to popsicles and snacks. Live music was provided by Swiftwater with Al and Wretha Webb. 

Last month the PACE Center for Girls in Broward County conducted robotics camp which was sponsored by IT Women and FPL’s Next Era. IT Women and FPL’s Next Era have created a program to teach girls the importance of engineering to encourage them to one day join the field of engineering. The girls spent the first week learning to make turtle art and program the robots to spell out their names on the computer. Over the next three weeks, the girls designed, built and programmed their robots made with Legos. The girls were able to program the robots to move forward and backward, spin in circles, go forward and redirect its motion when the sensor hit an obstacle, etc.

PACE is a non-profit, non-residential state-based program that provides comprehensive education and therapeutic prevention and intervention services to adolescent girls, 12-18 years old. PACE was established as an alternative to institutionalization or incarceration. The program is unique in that it is the first and only prevention and early intervention program of its kind in Florida that offers a continuum of services designed to meet the special needs of at-risk girls.

On June 20, the PACE Center for Girls in Broward County held their 2014 graduation ceremonies at The Global Grille in Ft. Lauderdale. The event was to honor and celebrate the graduation of twenty-two high school and GED recipients as well as seven middle school graduates.

Congratulations to all of the PACE girls on their graduation! 

Last week we shared with you the story of the 2014 Etiquette and Fashion Boot Camp held at the public Library in St. Petersburg. Delinquency Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee represented DJJ during this wonderful event spread out over ten days in mid-July.  I am pleased to report that the Boot Camp was featured in The Weekly Challenger newspaper and can be seen here and here.

I would like to share with you a true success story that comes to us from the PACE Center for Girls from Volusia and Flagler counties in Circuit 7.

The story involves student Cara Russek, who was looking for a school that would give her support to succeed. She found PACE and advocated to attend the school. She also referred a friend who became another PACE success story. Cara continues to deal with much stress in her life related to family, lack of money, relationship conflicts and ongoing life issues. She enrolled in PACE as an angry, anxious and depressed student with low self-esteem, who abused marijuana daily and did not have hope in her future. Since her enrollment, she has worked with her counselors and teachers to overcome these issues. She has maintained positive changes and has become a positive peer role model. Some of her accomplishments include: participating in student presentations at PACE’s Annual “Believing in Girls” fund raiser in March 2014; working in the PACE Art Group and currently helping to create a wall mural in the cafeteria; taking part as a PACE representative at the “Rally on Tally,” where she advocated for PACE with state representatives; she applied, interviewed, and was appointed President of the Career class in February 2014 (this position involved leadership responsibility on many school activities); she successfully completed her Florida Ready to Work program in May of 2014; she moved up the program level system to the highest level of “PACE Setter,” which involves ongoing peer leadership expectations; she assisted with the PACE “Big Sister” program, where she was a mentor to newly enrolled girls; she obtained employment in July 2014; she plans to do the commencement speech and the PACE graduation ceremony; and finally, she plans to become a “PACE Ambassador” through the Transition Services outreach program where PACE graduates share their personal stories with other girls.

Last Thursday, Legislative Affairs Director Jon Menendez, Deputy Director Marcus Smith and Special Projects Manager Eugene Morris accompanied staff from Governor Scott’s Legislative Affairs Office on a site visit tour to DJJ facilities and prevention programs.

The envoy toured the PACE Center for Girls of Tallahassee, the Leon County RJDC and Capital City Youth Services in order to provide staff a first-hand look at these prevention programs in Leon County. During the visits, the group toured different sites, spoke with youth and shared their insights.

In the attached photo (from left to right): Kelly Otte, Executive Director of PACE Center for Girls-Leon; Caitlin Brongel, Governor’s Legislative Affairs Office; Haley, PACE girl who led the tour; Danielle Scoggins, Governor’s Legislative Affairs Office; Marcus Smith, DJJ Legislative Affairs Deputy Director; and Jon Menendez, DJJ Legislative Affairs Director.

On Tuesday, Budget Manager Kevin Cleaver and Special Projects Administrator Eugene Morris attended National Night Out activities at Cascades Park in Tallahassee where they set up a display table and discussed DJJ services and programs.

National Night Out is an annual event designed to strengthen communities nationwide by encouraging neighborhoods to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners. The goal is to heighten crime-prevention awareness, build support and participation in local anti-crime programs, and most importantly, send a message that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get to know your neighbors even better.

Also on Tuesday, Community Engagement Coordinator Verla Lawson-Grady and Delinquency Prevention Specialist Onazina Washington attended National Night Out activities in Midway. The pair set up a display table and discussed DJJ programs. There were approximately 250 attendees. A host of providers, partners, Midway Police Department, Midway Fire Department, Gadsden County School Board, Department of Health, Marine Patrol & Florida Highway Patrol and the City Council of Midway. The City Manager and Commissioners were also in attendance.

In the attached photo (from left to right): Chief of Police Jerome Turner, Jr., Verla Lawson-Grady & Onazina Washington III at National Night Out activities in Midway

On Wednesday, Executive Director Kelly Otte, Program Director Lashawn Gordon and Associate Director for Governmental Affairs Samantha Sexton from the PACE Center for Girls of Leon County hosted a lunch and learn information session for Prevention Staff at DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee. PACE speakers shared the mission, philosophy and vision of PACE Centers. They also discussed the services provided to the girls, their family and school histories and success stories of the teens who seek services at their centers.

PACE is the only comprehensive gender responsive program and trauma informed program providing education and wrap around services for girls in Florida. 

In the attached photo (from left to right): Kelly Otte, Executive Director of PACE Leon; Gloria Gatlin, Prevention Federal Assistant; Lashawn Gordon, Program Director of PACE Leon;  and Samantha Sexton, Associate Director-Governmental Affairs for PACE, Inc. following the PACE Lunch and Learn session at DJJ.

Probation Update

Last Friday, JPOS Lana Wilcox, SJPO Rodney Harris, JPOs Evens Cazeneuve Tracy Magwood, Jazmine Toomer and Reform Specialist Maria Gilhooley from Circuit 11 participated in a prevention and intervention initiative entitled “My Life, My Power.” This initiative created by undefeated MMA fighter Daniel Puder is focused on helping high risk youth build resiliency when faced with difficult situations. This training is a collaboration between the Miami-Dade School Police Department and our agency which identifies high risk youth and provides them mentoring skills through the My Life My Power curriculum. 

Juvenile Programs Manager Woody Hanford with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office received the Florida Commendation Medal at the Youth Challenge Academy in Camp Blanding this past week. The Florida Commendation Medal is awarded for outstanding meritorious service to the community, state and nation. Over the last twelve years, Woody has dedicated himself to the Florida Challenge Academy and the Florida Army National Guard. His influence and dedication has provided our at-risk youth with the tools they need for future success. 

Last Friday, the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency held their annual Distinguished Service Awards event at the River City Brewing Company in Jacksonville. This event awards individuals who serve their communities as leaders in the areas of juvenile justice, criminal justice and law enforcement. Accordingly, I am excited to congratulate SJPO Rachel Hillegass from Circuit 4 who was honored with the Distinguished Service Award for Juvenile Justice. Rachel received this honor for her work supervising a very complex and specialized caseload of Crossover youth in Duval County, which consists of children that are served by both the foster care system and our agency.  In 2012 this Crossover project with DCF, DJJ, and Georgetown University was implemented in Circuit 4.  Rachel and her DCF/FSS counterpart were instrumental in putting this program together under the direction of the Honorable Judge David Gooding. This award is a testament to Rachel’s efforts to provide better services for foster care youth and keeping them from delving further into the legal system.

After months of extensive training as divers, students from AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute were prepared to participate in a coral reef study at the Biscayne National Monument. The students studied four distinct corals as a part of a longitudinal study to track their health. The research trip was funded by the Hartwell Foundation and was supported by the AMIkids Boatyard which provided the boats to get us to the dive sites.

A student from the program said, “This is the coolest thing I have ever done!”

Last Friday, Circuit 9 Reform Specialist Melinda Wesley-Nelson attended the Professional Opportunities for Students, Inc. (POPS) Annual End of the Year Recognition Luncheon. The event was an opportunity to thank and recognize students, partners, and supporters of the POPS Program. During the 2013-2014 year, POPS had a total of  394 students who participated in their program. Circuit 9 is appreciative of the POPS Program and the program’s continued guidance  to the youth in the community in becoming successful individuals.

On Wednesday, Circuit 20 JPO Shana Feren participated with the Cape Coral Police Department to give out 23 bicycles to several non-profit organizations in the area including: the Clewiston Youth Development Center, the local United Way and the Transitional Living Center. These bikes pictured here will be given to youth in Hendry and Glades counties that are in desperate need of transportation. 

Juvenile Detention Officer Graduation Ceremonies

Congratulations to the newest DJJ detention officers (JDOs), who graduated today in ceremonies at the Florida Public Safety Institute (FPSI), in Tallahassee, and Broward College, in Davie. The officers were honored by graduation addresses from Interim Secretary Christy Daly at FPSI, and Monroe RJDC Superintendent Vincent Vurro at Broward College. Kudos to Andrea Minnis, Duane Pace, and Artavia Parrish of the Office of Staff Development and Training, who trained the officers for this position of critical responsibility. Each graduate successfully completed 240 hours of training to achieve certification. The officers will work at the RJDC listed next to their names.


Front row (left to right): James McDonald–Duval RJDC, Ebony Cason–Alachua RJDC, Shari Johnson–Bay RJDC, Lisa Price–Okaloosa RJDC, Chani Kinsler–Marion RJDC, Natalie Snyder–Marion RJDC and Quintina Chukes–Leon RJDC.

Middle row: Dimitri Wilson–Alachua RJDC, Viquita Rayam–Alachua RJDC, Lior Gal–Alachua RJDC, Donald Boutwell–Okaloosa RJDC, Candi Bastien–Alachua RJDC, Darielle McCray–Leon RJDC, Ronald Kee–Alachua RJDC, Turquoise Huewitt–Leon RJDC, Wade Keel–Volusia RJDC and Shakira Wilson–Marion RJDC.

Back row: Nathan Moore–Escambia RJDC, Charles Dutton–Alachua RJDC, Robert Culbertson–Okaloosa RJDC, Robert Wade–Escambia RJDC, Darryl Touchstone–Escambia RJDC, John Eaton–Okaloosa RJDC, Stephen Doiron–Duval RJDC, Marissa Cole–Okaloosa RJDC, Timothy Collins–Volusia RJDC and Ernest Smith–Volusia RJDC. 

Broward College

Front row (left to right):  Jajuan Smith–Broward RJDC, Patricia Charles–Collier RJDC, Nathaniel Young–Palm Beach RJDC, Albernique Williams–Broward RJDC, Whitney Davis–Broward RJDC, Samara Groom–Broward RJDC, Daniel Rodriguez–Miami-Dade RJDC and Kendra Hicks–Miami-Dade RJDC.

Back row:  learning consultant Andrea Minnis, Nathaniel Mack–Miami-Dade RJDC, Nakia Battles–Collier RJDC, Anderson Pierre–Broward RJDC, Albert Hill, Jr.–Palm Beach RJDC, Monique Smith–Collier RJDC, Sharrell Henry–Broward RJDC, Drew London–Palm Beach RJDC and Duviel Rosello–Miami-Dade RJDC.