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Secretary's Message

October 20, 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

Annie E. Casey Foundation Visit

This past week, members of the Annie E. Casey Foundation staff made a visit to DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee to discuss ongoing technical assistance provided by the Casey Foundation to the agency. Assistant Secretaries Tim Niermann and Julia Strange, Director of Research and Planning Mark Greenwald and Probation staff member Colleene Scott updated the team on the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), which has been an ongoing project with the Casey Foundation for several years.

JDAI focuses on ensuring that the right youth are detained, and only for as long as necessary. JDAI’s core strategies, reliance on data, and use of objective screening instruments identify youth most likely to reoffend. The Initiative also engages various community stakeholders including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, elected officials and community representatives in a collaborative process to help identify and implement system improvements.


The Annie E. Casey Foundation is devoted to developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes. The Foundation works to strengthen families, build stronger communities and ensuring access to opportunity because children need all three to succeed. I am thankful for the partnership our agency has with this terrific national organization.

Legislative Staff Presentation

Last Wednesday, our agency made a presentation to legislative staff including Katie Cunningham and Ryan Cox from the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Randy Havlicak from the House Judiciary Committee, Tony Lloyd and Sarah Denagy from the House Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, Donna Dugger from the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, and Tommy Maggitas and Griffin Kolchakian from the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget. The meeting was an opportunity to take advantage of the “down time” in the legislative process and further educate the committee staff on our reform effort accomplishments and next steps in advancing the Roadmap to System Excellence goals. The presentation was very well received, and I was pleased with the positive feedback we received from the committee staff. Thank you to our Legislative Affairs Director Jon Menendez and Deputy Marcus Smith as well as Special Projects coordinator Brenda Posthumus for all of their hard work to make this presentation possible.

JJSIP Update

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of participating in the Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project (JJSIP) rollout meetings in Circuit 10.  JJSIP is a national initiative to reform the juvenile justice system by translating "what works" into everyday practice and policy. Administered by Georgetown University's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, the JJSIP provides a framework for implementing best practices throughout the entire juvenile justice system.   

On Monday afternoon, there was a meeting of approximately 25 stakeholders from Highlands and Hardee counties.  On Tuesday morning, a JJSIP training was held with more than 65 DJJ staff members from probation and commitment, and another meeting with more than 40 stakeholders from Polk County in the afternoon.  Many thanks go to Circuit 10 Chief Probation Officer (CPO) Jennifer Haynes and Assistant CPO Alison Fulford who organized the three meetings. 

We were fortunate to have the participation of juvenile court judges from Circuit 10; clerks of the courts; public defenders; states attorneys; county sheriffs, captains and deputies; chiefs and sergeants of police departments; members of the school boards; juvenile services providers; and Circuit 10 staff members of the Department of Children & Families.  I thank each of you who attended the stakeholders’ meetings.  You are the community partners who help DJJ in its mission to turn around the lives of troubled youth.

At both meetings, the national perspective of systems improvement was provided by Georgetown University’s Shay Bilchik and Marion Kelly.  

The theory and research behind the Comprehensive Strategy and the use of the Disposition Matrix, as well as placement and practice data, were presented by DJJ Director of Research & Planning Mark Greenwald, M.J.P.M., and Senior Research Associate Michael Baglivio, Ph.D.  Mark and Mike also trained staff on the continuum of services and the practical application of the Disposition Matrix when making a recommendation of services for a youth in the juvenile justice system.

Assistant Secretary for Residential Services Laura Moneyham and Assistant Secretary for Probation & Community Intervention Tim Niermann provided case scenarios for the staff training, explaining the basics of how the Disposition Matrix would be applied for each example.  They also fielded questions from the stakeholders and provided data pertinent to each of the counties represented by the stakeholders.  It was noted that Circuit 10 had nearly 90% optimal placements over the past year based on the data shown in the graph (at left).

The next step in the JJSIP rollout process will be a training that includes case studies with DJJ staff and key stakeholders who work with juvenile justice youth to learn how to analyze those cases and to apply the Disposition Matrix to each.  For more information about JJSIP, click here.

Shown above (L-R):  Senior Research Associate Michael “Mike” Baglivio, Ph.D.; Bureau of Research & Planning Director Mark A. Greenwald, M.J.P.M.; Georgetown University Consultant Marion R. Kelly; me; Georgetown University Founder & Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Shay Bilchik, J.D.; Circuit 10 Chief Probation Officer Jennifer Haynes; Office of Residential Services Assistant Secretary Laura K. Moneyham; and Probation &Community Intervention Assistant Secretary Timothy “Tim” Niermann served as the presenters for the three JJSIP meetings held in Circuit 10.

Office of Program Accountability

As part of our recent move to create the Bureau of Contract Management in the Office of Program Accountability, we continue to develop and improve our processes for contract management across the state.  The Bureau currently consists of 18 contract managers with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the art of managing contracts and DJJ programs.  In the first week of September the Bureau members gathered at the Pat Thomas Academy for 2 days of training and information sharing.  Prior to all working in the same bureau, staff were specialized in particular processes or program types and this event provided an opportunity for everyone to share their experience with others in an effort to broaden everyone’s knowledge and provide a set of references that each manager could use as they begin to experience managing contracts outside of their prior work environment.


To help ensure the staff improve and expand their contract management knowledge, they continue to attend training events that will increase their ability to learn all of the DJJ programs and processes across program areas ensuring a consistent approach to provider management and monitoring.  Trainings have included: DFS Advanced Accountability, DFS Contract and Grant Monitoring for Success, Provider Management and Monitoring, Contract Tracking System, Florida Single Audit Act, Basic Motivational Interviewing, and Certified QI Peer Reviewer.  Each of these trainings provides the manager with a wider skillset and the ability to do an effective and efficient job of managing the Department’s contracts.   Managing contracts and provider performance is critical to ensuring the Department is getting the services they pay for and that the youth in our care are getting quality services that they need. 

Prevention Update

Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services joined supporter Candace Borja to clean up Miami’s Matheson Hammock Park on October 11.  Youth volunteered their time to clean up the park, a 630-acre urban oasis just south of Coral Gables, that features a manmade pool flushed naturally by the tide, a beach, marina and boat launch. Matheson Hammock is more than a park, its home to a restaurant, nature trails, pavilions, and a sailing and boating school. 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.

Kerrie Maira, with the PACE Center for Girls of Ormond Beach and PACE girl Gwen B along with Elizabeth Soule with the Beach House, a residential facility operated by Stewart - Marchman – Act, and employees from DCF and DJJ attended a workshop  for Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) and advocates in both Volusia and Flagler counties. The Circuit 7 “Continuum of Care” invited GALs, JPOs, and others to a workshop to discuss how partner agencies collaborate in Volusia County to provide services for teens. PACE Center for Girls Volusia – Flagler frequently serves students who spend some time at Beach House and Gwen B. shared how these two organizations have supported her.

Gwen courageously shared her struggles with family conflict and relocating to Florida from Maine. These struggles resulted in Gwen residing at “Beach House,” which referred her to PACE.  “I was reluctant to go at first but then another girl at Beach House told me about her experience at PACE,” Gwen said. Among Gwen’s favorite things about PACE are the “emotional support, staff and small class sizes.” Gwen plans to go to school and obtain a degree in nursing. 

During her time at PACE, Gwen has learned the importance of giving back to the community. She has volunteered with PACE at a local assisted living facility, attended community events to share various community resources that provide local youth with needed support, and has mentored younger youth. “I plan to give back to PACE with donations and my time,” she said. Gwen completed her presentation regarding PACE and the continuum of care with a song she wrote and produced during her time of growth and change titled “Free.”

Amy Sandler, Outreach Counselor at PACE Volusia – Flagler helped organize the event. “It’s important for the various stakeholders to know how we each approach our individual missions so that kids are taken care of holistically,” Amy said.

“We’re proud of all that Gwen has accomplished recently and fortunate that we have such strong relationships with organizations such as Beach House and with partners in the GAL program and JPO’s who take time to learn about local services and help connect our girls’ with what they need.”

The Office of Prevention and Victim Services received a thank you card last Friday from the Leon County Teen Court coordinators for the school supplies and toiletry items donated for youth served by Capital City Youth Services (CCYS). CCYS provides emergency shelter and counseling services to youth in crisis throughout the Big Bend area in North Florida. September was recognized as National Youth Court Month. Donations made by Prevention staff will aid Teen Court that partnered with CCYS, Inc. to collect supplies for school students during its “Teen Court Helping Hands Project.”

The thank you card read: “Your kindness is appreciated very much. Thank you so very much for your generous donations to the 2014 Helping Hands project. We were able to collect over 3,000 items to donate to Capital City Youth Services, Inc. Your thoughtfulness goes a long way!! Teen Court.”

The University Area Tampa I Prodigy Program from Circuit 13 participated in the Seeds of Love Gardening Day at the University Area Community Development Center in Tampa. Youth and their families helped plant seedlings in six garden beds adopted by Tampa I Prodigy.  The Harvest Festival will have several events this fall in which additional types of seeds will be planted for seasonal fruits and vegetables. The produce will be donated to families in the community as well as be used in nutritional and cooking programs soon to begin at the Harvest Hope Center located at UACDC. 

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Tina Levene attended a Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) training on October 6 at Rogers Middle School in Riverview. SAVE strives to decrease the potential for violence in schools and communities through meaningful student involvement, education, and service opportunities. SAVE is a student driven organization where they learn about alternatives to violence and practice what they learn through school and community service projects. As they participate in SAVE activities, students learn crime prevention and conflict management skills and the virtues of good citizenship, civility, and nonviolence.

The SAVE program is a peer-to-peer violence prevention program for elementary, middle and high school students. Monday’s SAVE training was sponsored by the Hillsborough County Criminal Justice Department and Hillsborough County Schools. Tina has been a community member of the Anti-Bullying Advisory Council since 2010, which is now championed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman.

In the above photo, Tina Levene (seated on middle bean bag) and other participants in the recent training for Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE).

Faith Partners in Circuit 14 attended a volunteer and chaplaincy basic training on October 10 in Panama City. The purpose of this training was to educate members of the faith community to actively participate in the department’s prevention and intervention efforts. This training gave members of the faith community information needed to assist in preventing youth from entering the DJJ system and prevent youth from going deeper into the juvenile justice system.

In the above photo, seated at rear left, Clayton Maynard; middle left, David Woods; front left, Michelle McCaskill; front right, Sherlene McClary; and rear right, Patricia McAdams attend the Circuit 14 faith training.

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Lydia Breaux-Davis attended the 21st annual Big Community Cookout on October 11 at the Fricker Community Center in Pensacola. “Reclaiming Our Peaceful Community,” was the theme of this year’s event which was sponsored by the Pensacola Community Arts and Recreation Association and Pensacola Neighborhood Services. The cookout featured an array of food and beverages and featured local entertainers including the Adult Life Dancers.  PCARA Founder Leroy Williams and Pensacola Police Capitan David Alexander hosted the cookout while promoting non-violence and a drug free community. 

From left to right are the Adult Life Dancers: Marketa Luckett, Tamara Luckett), Shanta Smith, and Javetta Kitt.

Residential Update

On October 2, six residents graduated from the Melbourne Center for Personal Growth (MCPG), a non-secure residential program for males, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by AMIKids, LLC.

At the graduation ceremony, the guest speaker was The Honorable John M. Harris, chief judge of Circuit 18, representing both Brevard and Seminole counties.  Judge Harris did a phenomenal job of motivating the young men to continue their educations and to use the skills they learned at MCPG to continue bettering themselves, helping their families and their communities.  

The six graduates earned Certificates of Completion for the following evidence-based, treatment educational programs:  Seven Challenges, Anger Replacement Therapy, Impact of Crime, and The Boys Council.  One graduate also earned his high school diploma while in the program. 

All of the young men spoke highly of their community service experiences with Habitat for Humanity, Brevard County Zoo, and the Brevard County Animal Shelter.  The staff of MCPG expressed how proud they are of the young men and their achievements.

The Frances Walker Halfway House (FWHH), a non-secure program for females, ages 13 to 18, located in Titusville and operated by Aspire Health Partners Inc., recently sponsored an opportunity for some residents to give back to the community.  Program Manager Lydia Fulton and Program Specialist Eugenia Washington accompanied four young ladies to Sharpes Church of God in Cocoa where they helped serve a Ladies Luncheon. 

The girls greeted the ladies, helped prepare the luncheon, served the ladies, and cleaned up after the luncheon, which involved completely breaking down the room set-up.  They had the chance to show off their good manners while interacting with the ladies of the church.  Additionally, they helped entertain some of the ladies’ children while their mothers enjoyed the luncheon.

This kind of outing helps the girls to see themselves in a different light.  They see firsthand how good it feels to help others, being viewed as valuable and needed.

Detention Update

I am pleased to bring you this great story from Duval County!

JJDOs Romeo Jones, Robert Watts and Leo Dawson from the Duval RJDC continued this agency’s commitment to community engagement by mentoring several at-risk kids in the Jacksonville community. The officers used a format called Real Talk which helps enable youth to make good decisions and positive choices. The goal of these sessions is to impact the community to bring about a positive change in the lives of youth and their families. These pictures were taken from a session on October 11 where the youth learned about the importance of integrity. 

Juvenile Justice Detention Academy Graduation

Congratulations to the following juvenile detention officers (JDOs) who graduated Friday in a ceremony at Broward College in Davie.  JDOs supervise youth in state-operated juvenile detention centers as they await an appearance before the court, or placement in a juvenile residential treatment facility. The graduates successfully completed 240 hours of training to become certified officers. They will work in the DJJ facility listed next to their name. Thanks to Douglas Kane,  superintendent of Palm Beach RJDC, for delivering the graduation address. Kudos to Learning Consultant Andrea “A.J.” Minnis, who trained the officers for this position of critical responsibility.

Front row (left to right):  Crystal Williams–Broward Juvenile Detention Center (JDC), Gerard Ladson II–Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC), Minouche Joseph–Collier JDC, Pedro Suarez–Broward JDC, Ariel Perez-Lopez–Collier JDC and Charlotte Charles–Broward JDC.

Middle row:  James Celestin–Collier JDC, Anthony Lawson–Miami-Dade RJDC, Kenneth Moore–Miami-Dade RJDC, Philippe Presendieu–Broward JDC, Mahogany Sparks–Broward JDC, Scyqulatta Harris–Collier JDC, Dontallis Render–Miami-Dade RJDC and Andrea Minnis.

Back row:  Thomas Locust–Palm Beach JDC, Arthur Dupoux–Broward JDC, Gilbert Grantlin III–Palm Beach JDC, Maurice Watson–Palm Beach JDC, Keldrain Francis–Collier JDC and Douglas Duncan–Collier JDC.

Probation Update

Circuit 20 Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq met with Charlotte County Juvenile Judge John Burns to discuss our reform efforts focusing on transitional and intervention services. Representatives from the State Attorney’s Office, Neighborhood Accountability Board and Juvenile Arbitration were also on hand. In addition, Lut gave a presentation on Life Skills Training in Charlotte County at the request of Judge Burns who expressed his interest on the topic. Judge Burns would like to see this implemented in Charlotte County for those at-risk youth that appear in his courtroom. I would also like to thank JPOS Dan Murphy who was also in attendance. 

Congratulations to Circuit 20 JPOS Kelli Mukaddam on her new role as Data Integrity Officer for the Circuit.  Kelli has been with the Department for 9 years and in a supervisory role for almost 7 years. She has several years of experience supervising juvenile probations officers responsible for both Intake and Supervision. She also has a wealth of knowledge regarding the Juvenile Assessment Center, Diversion Programs, Civil Citation, Detention Reviews and all aspects of the Court. Kelli continues to provide support within the community and has been serving as the point of contact between Probation and community leaders in Lehigh Acres and Central Fort Myers.

On October 9, probation staff in Circuit 8 attended the Alachua County Emergency Management Tabletop exercise. This exercise provided a scenario to effectively evaluate the capabilities and Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The critical emphasis was on communication and response to a chemical spill at the court house while juvenile court was in session. I would like to thank Captain Rodney Johnson from the Alachua RJDC, CPO Diane Pearson, and Secretary Specialist Janice Henry for participating.

Circuit 14 JPO Robin Myers attended a graduation for a youth on her caseload from the Starting Over Straight (SOS) Drug Rehabilitation Program. Considering what this youth had to overcome it stands as a tremendous accomplishment. The youth participated in every other program available but wasn’t able to complete them. This time he was able to graduate in just 90 days. Robin said, “This youth excelled in the program and really proved how rewarding this job as a Probation Officer is.   It was truly amazing to see and hear all of the things said about this young man!  He truly deserves all the praise for his accomplishments!”

Photo: (L to R) JPO Robin Myers, youth, Lynn Tolbert (Counselor for the youth), and Ms. Jones (SOS Facilitator).

The Circuit 17 Crossover Youth Practice Model (Georgetown- CYPM) Sustainability Team’s efforts were recently reinforced by a 1-year deep-end pilot program funded by the Broward County Commission. Commissioners agreed to  fund the pilot for $550,000 to determine what strategies have a greater impact on dually involved youth.

The Crossover Youth Practice Model, a collaboration with the Department of Children and Families led by Georgetown University, provides careful and competent joint case management for those youth served both in the child welfare system and the delinquency system. This high risk population does not have the family structure to rely upon for support in their court involvement. Therefore, these youth lack this important protective factor for reducing their risk to re-offend.

The goal of the Broward County pilot is to decrease the rate of reoffending while ensuring the youth’s ability to successfully transition into adulthood. The pilot will serve 25 youth.

Circuit 17 SJPO Robyn Martin received high praise from Circuit Judge Elijah Williams on how she handles her cases from commitment until conditional release. Judge Williams stated that Robyn has very good working knowledge of the youth’s family dynamics and what the other underlying problems are involved with her cases. Judge Williams was impressed with the way she handles her cases since they are conditional release, and does not allow the youth to go unsupervised.

Each Friday during the month of October, Probation Staff from Circuit 17 have participated in ‘Wear Pink Friday,” to help raise awareness for Breast Cancer. As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go and need your help!  

To kick it off everyone wore their pink!!!

I would like to share this thank you letter that was sent to CPO Diane Pearson concerning JPO Aimee Harrier from a gentleman who was inspired by the work that DJJ was doing in the community. It reads:

Thank you, Ms. Pearson, for the opportunity to discuss one of the thousands of lives that are positively impacted daily by you, Ms. Aimee Harrier and other competent and caring employees of the Department of Juvenile Justice. As a retired and somewhat crusty former Assistant US Attorney in Miami and former Florida Chief Inspector General under Lawton Chiles, I have never been accused of being soft on crime. Fortunately, however, there are people like Aimee Harrier, you and former DJJ Secretary Walters and the other creative and compassionate individuals who bring to life the Department's Mission Statement: "To increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention and treatment services that strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth."  Inspiring words to be sure but only words without the compassion, pluck, spirit, strength of character and perseverance of Juvenile Probation Officer Aimee Harrier who, under your leadership, is fulfilling the promise of the Roadmap To System Excellence, Revised. Ms. Harrier never loses her focus on the needs of the child, is intellectually honest, scrupulous in the gathering and assessment of the facts, and impartial in holding all parties accountable for the truth. But once the truth is ascertained, to the extent possible, she is always focused on what course of action would be in the best interests of the child. She has displayed this uncanny caring and competence most recently to my awareness in the case of a now-12 year-old boy in North Central Florida whose parents, for drug abuse and mental illness reasons, were unable to care for him. In September 2013 at then-age 11 the child lost his beloved maternal grandmother and, in the same month, moved from elementary school where he had performed well to middle school where he was subjected to physical assaults and other teasing, thefts of clothing and personal property and was adrift in a world that apparently had no concern or place for him. Fortunately, however, he had the great fortune of becoming one of JPO Harrier's clients and she has already made a tremendous difference in his life by questioning whether he is exactly the kind of child imagined by the authors of the Roadmap in its first goal to: "Prevent and divert more youth from entering the juvenile justice system". Ms. Harrier is an articulate and spirited advocate for turning around the lives of troubled children and not turning our backs on them. As the Department motto reads "Our children, our future".

SD&T FY 2013-14 Initiatives Report Online

The Office of Staff Development and Training (SD&T) has posted its Review of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-14 Goals, Initiatives and Outcomes Report on the SD&T home page, under SD&T News.  The report provides the status of SD&T initiatives that were projected for FY 2013-14, as well as ad hoc projects that the office engaged in during that time. The report assesses the  success of initiatives, identifies best practices for future projects, and informs the selection of SD&T initiatives for FY 2014-15. To view the full report, click here.

A few SD&T highlights from FY 2013-14:

  • Implementation of SkillPro learning management system
  • Performance Management System rollout in collaboration with the Office of Personnel
  • Revision of Rule 63-H

Florida Retirement System Financial Planning Workshops

The Florida Retirement System is offering free financial planning workshops for your FRS-covered employees via webcast.  The workshops will be held on Tuesday, October 21, and Wednesday, October 22, and will be on the following topics: 


10:00 a.m. to Noon ET

1:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET

October 21

Using the FRS to Plan for Retirement

Investment Planning for Everyone - The Details

October 22

Nearing Retirement in the FRS

New Employee Retirement Plan Choice

Please forward this information to all of your FRS-covered employees.  If your agency policy will not allow you to forward this information, you may want to print out the attached flyers and post them around your agency. 

Employees wishing to register for these workshops should call 1-866-446-9377, Option 2. 

Employees who sign up to attend an online workshop will receive details for logging in and participating a few days prior to the workshop. Employees in the Tallahassee area can attend the workshops in person at the State Board of Administration, 1801 Hermitage Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32308.

Please contact Lorna Jackson in the Bureau of Personnel at (850) 717-2656 if you have any questions.