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Secretary's Message

October 6, 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

Families and Children in the Court System

Last Monday I attended the Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court in West Palm Beach. The Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court works diligently to encourage and facilitate family court efforts by establishing a fully integrated, comprehensive approach to handling all cases involving children and families. 

This meeting featured Palm Beach county probation officers and Department of Education staff who discussed the School Justice Project, a pilot program which is highlighted in our Roadmap to System Excellence. This project features a JPO and a school staff member who provide academic and behavioral oversight for youth in our system that attend Palm Beach Lakes High School, the school with the highest arrest rate in the county. 

I would like to thank all of the staff and stakeholders who were on hand for this impromptu meeting! 

L to R: Shirlon McCarty (Reform Specialist), Dr. Angela Bess (Palm Beach schools), Judge Kathleen Kroll (Circuit Judge in the 15th Judicial Circuit), Greg Starling (CPO), Steve Miller(JPO) and Geeta Jacobson(ACPO).

CJCA Leadership Institute

On Thursday and Friday, I attended the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) Leadership Institute in Chicago. The leadership institute is a part of the CJCA Resource Network and is funded through a grant made possible by the MacArthur Foundation. Over 42 CJCA members participated in this year’s conference which helps expand implementation of the reforms of Models for Change in youth correctional agencies across the country.


Circuit Advisory Board Spotlight

I am pleased to recognize Jim Clark as the Circuit Advisory Board Chair for the month of October. Jim has built his life around improving the lives of children and is considered one of the leading child advocates in the area. He’s a licensed social worker and national speaker on topics including children’s mental health and raising positive children. Since 1998, Jim has been the president and Chief Executive Officer of Daniel Memorial, Inc., the oldest child-serving agency in Florida. He leads the staff of over 200 to help an average of 2,000 children and families a day through programs including intervention, foster care and adoption.

Jim is on the forefront of shaping government policies concerning children.  He helped design and test Florida’s Statewide Inpatient Prevention Program at Daniel. The state has since adopted the program as its standard approach for dealing with serious emotional problems in children requiring out-of-home-care.

Jim works to ensure that children and children’s related issues are a top government priority in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. In 2001, he co-founded the Jacksonville Kids Coalition. The organization educates elected officials, candidates, and voters about issues impacting children. Jim was appointed chair of the DJJ Circuit 4 Advisory Board in 2013, and he serves on the Boards of the Florida Coalition for Children, Florida Juvenile Justice Association, LSF Health Systems Substance Abuse and Mental Health Managing Entity for Northeast/North Central Florida, and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Steering Committee.

His community and civic involvement is extensive and includes participation with the National Black Child Development Institute, the Jacksonville Community Council’s Mental Health Study and Rotary. He was appointed chair of the State Advisory Group for Juvenile Justice (2010-2012), and is past chair of the Duval County Juvenile Justice Council, JCCI’s Subcommittee Mental Health Needs Black Male Implementation Group, and the Michigan Consultation Board for the Disproportionate Representation of Female and Minority Youth in the Juvenile Justice System.

In 2005, Jim was named Social Worker of the Year by the Northeast Florida Unit of the National Association of Social Workers, and in 2011, he was inducted into the Ohio State University School of Social Work Hall of Fame. Jim educates the Jacksonville area about good parenting during bi-weekly segments on The Morning Show on WJXT.

 Office of Program and Accountability Update 

The end of September marks a significant milestone for DJJ.  Two years ago the Department embarked on a project to improve its service to Florida’s youth and citizens by aligning how DJJ procures, manages, measures and drives increased quality in its contracting and provider management practices.  The assessment and recommendations phase of this project resulted in the recommendation to implement a Provider Management Shared Services model under the Office of Program Accountability.  In August, the last region of the state rolled out the shared service model and September was the first full month of implementation.

Thank you to everyone for your hard work and dedication in making this transition possible. As we move from the project phase into operation, the Office of Program Accountability and the Program Areas will continue to work together using the shared services approach to ensure we effectively manage and monitor our providers.

Prevention Update

Faith Partners from Circuit 2 organized a planning meeting last Friday at the Leon County Detention Center. The Faith Network volunteers participated in a meeting to discuss their efforts to effectively address the issues youth and families are facing in the community. The Faith Network Coordinator also provided awareness of additional opportunities to engage the youth and families we serve. The goals of the Faith Network are to support existing youth programs and assist in developing new ones designed to meet the needs of youths and their families, encourage Faith Leader involvement in juvenile justice issues and recruit volunteers and develop resources for Faith and Community partners. 

The PACE Center for Girls-Gainesville was profiled in the Gainesville Sun.  Entitled, “PACE offers girls’ opportunity for better future,” the unique PACE model is credited for providing opportunities for girls in middle or high school (ages 13-18) who are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. PACE gives girls an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. PACE helps let girls know they are equipped to chart their course and life. To view the full article, click here

Last Friday Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services, a DJJ Prevention Provider, received a donation of bedding, bathroom and sports items for both of its shelters from the Maria Luisa de Moreno International Foundation. Every year, thousands of "at risk" adolescents in Miami-Dade County face the prospect of life on the streets. Many of them are children for whom the foster care system cannot find placement, children who run away from dysfunctional homes, and children released from juvenile detention. These are kids who, quite literally, have nowhere to go.

For more than 20 years, The Miami Bridge has worked to keep these kids off the streets. The Bridge is a not-for-profit organization that provides emergency shelter, food and, just as importantly, counseling for troubled youths and their families. The Bridge works to rescue kids from lives of victimization and crime, and in so doing, helps the South Florida community ensure that these kids have the opportunity to become productive members of society.

The Moreno Foundation focuses on collaborating with governmental services and other non-profit agencies that cater to the immigrant community regardless of their country of origin. They offer support through social programs that will give immigrants access to a higher education; so that they could obtain a better quality of life and ultimately become less dependent on governmental financial aid.

On September 13th, ten youth from the Brevard Group Treatment Home, a DJJ Prevention Provider attended the JERICHO Project at the First Assembly Church of Cocoa. The JERICO Project is a multi-church outreach program targeting community youth in coordination with the Circuit 18 Faith Community. 

The JERICHO Project team ministers through testimonials, the Word of God, and displays of strength and discipline as they break bricks and declare the walls are coming down. Those walls include silence, pain, suffering, despair, un-forgiveness, and emptiness.

Youth from the Investing in Our Youth (IOY) Girls Elite Program visited the Gadsden County Courthouse in Quincy over the summer months. In order to prepare girls for potential careers as lawyers, judges and law enforcement officers, the girls took this educational tour. 

IOY’s mission is to ensure youth and their families have an opportunity to become self-sufficient, productive, and secure citizens. They do this through providing programs that consciously and thoughtfully cultivate youth with power and information that will enable them to make good decisions and gracefully pass to adulthood. Counselors believe these young people can accomplish great things, if given the opportunity and adequate resources.  

The girls from IOY also participated in group science projects over the summer as well. Working as a team is important and learning the value of successfully working with peers is critical to success. To demonstrate the importance of teamwork, IOY girls worked on science projects and other assignments. Investing In Our Youth’s vision is a picture of collaborative efforts with individuals and organizations assisting citizens to fulfill their dreams and goals of prosperity and health, with dignity and respect, while exercising their rights and responsibilities to build and impact the community and the world.

Last Tuesday the PACE Center for Girls of Jacksonville, attended a career day sponsored by the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). Girls rotated through different stations such as Banking, Legal, Architecture, Interior Design, Engineering, Surveying, Contracting and Real Estate to learn what it takes to build a commercial building. Girls also reviewed appropriate interview and resume writing techniques and finished off the day with a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" game. 

PACE strives to teach girls and get them interested in careers that are considered "non-traditional" for women. CREW shares the PACE belief that PACE girls can accomplish anything they work to achieve. 

Probation Update

Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq and members of the Circuit Advisory Board in Circuit 20 participated in a strategic planning meeting with community partners from the Institute for Youth and Justice Studies (IYJS) last Friday at Florida Gulf Coast University. The strategic session provided an opportunity for the University and stakeholders to set the direction and purpose of the Institute, resource availability and development, determine comprehensive strategies and identify several goals. Circuit Advisory Board Chair Dr. Sandra Pavelka organized the event where advisory board members and community partners worked collaboratively in identifying the challenges youth and families faces in the community as well as identifying the IYJS final vision and mission.

Last Wednesday in Key West, Probation Staff from Circuit 16 concluded its round of Community Conversations for the month of September. JPOs Nancy Masry, Steve Meredith and Miranda Gray provided an overview of the Department outlining divisions and the process a family experiences after making contact with law enforcement. Reform Specialist Elaine Thompson gave a presentation on the Roadmap, DMC/RED Newtork, Faith Network, GAAP Events and EPICS.

On Tuesday, JPOSs Kelli Mukaddam and Jon Vertrees, JPOs Carolyn Hernandez and Carol Moyer and Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq from Circuit 20 led a Community Re-Entry Meeting at the South Fort Myers Probation Office. 

The CRT Meeting is being held the last Tuesday of each month and discusses youth who are re-entering  the community and focuses on after-care services and education placement. The team also discussed the issue of youth not being able to go back to regular school-setting due to their criminal history as well as youth who are involved with competency restoration.

I would like to welcome Diane Pearson as the new Chief Probation Officer for Circuit 8. Diane brings 25 plus years of experience with the agency as she previously served as the Commitment Manager for Circuit 8 and the North Region Probation Office. Prior to that work Diane was the Assistant Chief in both Circuit 2, Circuit 4 and Circuit 8. 

Fort Walton Beach Probation Staff from Circuit 1 held a covered dish birthday party this week for the Honorable Circuit Court Judge Jay Gontarek. This birthday party featured a best banana pudding contest between public defender Brooke Jones and Administrative Assistant Pat Glover. Brook was crowned the winner by Judge Gontarek for her outstanding banana pudding. 

L to R: Pat Glover, Honorable Judge John Jay Gontarek and Brooke Jones.

Probation staff from Circuit 14 have found a new method to get teenage girls interested in group counseling by making it a fun experience with fingernail painting. In this new exercise, each of the girls grabs a partner and paints one nail on the other person. After painting one finger, each of the girls is required to share something about them. After each nail is completed, the girls find a new partner and keep going until all ten nails are done. During this process, the male counselor did participate as you can see from the photo to the left and his little daughter was tickled when she saw his hands. 

Management Review Coordinator Chantelle Dishman conducted CCC training this week in both the South and Central Regions. Staff members in attendance received an in-depth overview of the Level II Management Reviews, Initial Assessments and using the CCC system. 

Last Thursday, Probation Staff from Circuit 11 participated in the 11th Annual Youth Gang Summit. The theme of this summit was Towards Restorative Justice. It provided a brief overview of youth gang violence and prevention resources in South Florida and featured keynote speaker Dr. Mara Schiff from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. The summit also included mental health clinicians, attorneys, law enforcement officers, educators and students. 

Juvenile Probation Officer Graduation

Congratulations to the newest class of juvenile probation officers (JPOs), which graduated on Friday. The officers were honored with a graduation address by Chief of Staff Fred Schuknecht in a ceremony at DJJ headquarters in Tallahassee. JPOs ensure youths comply with court requirements and assist teens and their families in accessing services that support the youths’ success, such as counseling and skills development. They work with youth in judicial circuits throughout Florida at every point in the juvenile justice continuum, from initial intake screening through the supervision of services. They provide a formal recommendation for each youth who is arrested, and advise the court regarding appropriate sanctions and services. Each graduate successfully completed 403 hours of training to become a certified officer and will serve in the city listed next to his or her name, below. Thanks to learning consultants Christina Ash, Duane Pace and Artavia Parrish for leading the class through the certification process for this position of critical responsibility.

Front row (left to right): Shernean Mathews–Jacksonville, Brittany Peterson–St. Petersburg

Second row: Nicole Monard–Bartow, Shawna Prope–Cape Coral, Tiffany Williams–Orlando, Louise Herard–Clearwater, Shavonia Cruz–Kissimmee, Felicia Daniels–Lauderdale Lakes

Third row: Shaday Peeples–West Palm Beach, Vera Bowers–Jacksonville, Verna Faine–Jacksonville, James Hanusek–Live Oak, Natasha Mitchell–Clearwater, Webster Davis–Daytona Beach,  John Daniel–Dade City, Jonathan Merino–Orlando, Nayo Sadiki–St. Petersburg

Back row: Niki Arnau–Daytona Beach, Faith Anderson–Orlando, Katherine Hodge–Clearwater, Kristina Hollingsworth–St. Petersburg, Brianna Boston–Panama City, Kent Blosser–Tallahassee, Keith Money–Jacksonville, Edgar Guilfuchi–Orlando

Detention Update

The Office of Detention Services in the South Region conducted a facility training coordinator/assistant superintendents meeting this week in Miami. This training educated those in attendance about SkillPro, training officers, and succession planning. The purpose of this training was to show our leaders how these topics are all directly related to retaining a career focused, professional workforce. 

The youth at the Palm Beach RJDC were treated to their first “Culinary Creations” course last Friday. Chef Troy Sheller was the first guest chef to present and hold a kitchen talk. Chef Sheller then treated our youth to a culinary creation which was inspired by the current harvest from the Hydroponic garden. The creation included summer squash stuffed with Quinoa, Kalamata olives, ground chicken, cream cheese and fresh mint. 

Residential Update

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) was highlighted in “Core principles for reducing recidivism and improving other outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system,” a document published by the Council for State Governments.  The Council for State Governments Justice Center is a national nonprofit organization that serves policymakers at the local, state and federal levels from all branches of government.  

Florida was highlighted for having a validated risk and needs assessment in both the community (the C-PACT) and residential commitment programs (the R-PACT).  DJJ’s recently implemented Disposition Recommendation Matrix, created as part of its participation in the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (JJSIP), was pictured and highlighted as a model process “to make fair and effective supervision decisions.” 

The validation study of the Disposition Recommendation Matrix was cited stating, “The 12-month recidivism rate for youth placed outside of the Disposition Matrix recommendations was two times higher than for those placed within the suggested range.”

The report is available by clicking here. The Disposition Matrix validation study is available by clicking here.

Last week, Commitment Managers from across the state gathered in St. Petersburg for a two-day meeting.  This is the first time since 2006 that the team of DJJ Commitment Managers has met as a group to address the diverse challenges and dynamics associated with this complex position. 

The training was coordinated by Residential Classification and Placement Michell McCarthy, and facilitated by Assistant Secretary of Residential Services Laura Moneyham and Residential Services Programs & Policy Coordinator Meg BatesDan Vickers, Ph.D., with the Florida State University Center for Public Management, provided team-building facilitation to help the Commitment Managers learn how to effectively advance statewide collaboration and consistency.  Many thanks go to Circuit 6 Chief Probation Officer Adrienne Cornwell who joined the meeting to provide her expertise in Probation & Community Intervention. 

The Commitment Managers learned about the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (JJSIP) and the Disposition Recommendation Matrix.  The group then reviewed actual youth cases and the placements of those youth, applying the Structured Decision Making (SDM) process that has been validated as part of JJSIP.

Back Row: Dr. Dan Vickers, Sean Dorsey, Amy Daglish, Florence Pitts, Monica Alford, Michell McCarthy, April Lewis, Traci Pullman, Mike Grossman 

Middle Row: Adrienne Cornwell (CPO Circuit 6), OJ Curtis, Kristin Hann, Virgil Harris, Tifini Brantley, Stuart Wolcott, Erna Foushee, Phil Carney, Emilio Nieves, John Ahern Virgil Wright, Shauntrai Bruton, Oleta Riggs, Maggie Young, Telly Suarez, Stephen Basty, Daryl Wolfgang 

Front Row: Kristina Picone, Laura Moneyham 

Not Pictured: Sharronah Scott