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Secretary's Message

December 15, 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

FJJF Site Visits

Last Thursday, FJJF Director Caroline Ray and I accompanied FJJF Board Member Paul Mitchell on site visits to both the Capital City Youth Services (CCYS) and the Leon County Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) respectively. Paul has been a FJJF board member for some time now, but Thursday marked his first trip to visit our facilities first hand. Staff at both CCYS and the RJDC took Paul on a tour around their facilities where we met with employees and youth. 

Human Trafficking Update

DJJ’s Human Trafficking Deputy Director Tyson Elliot collaborated with the Executive Office of the Governor, the Office of Adoption and Child Protection, and the Office of the Attorney General in hosting a webinar on human trafficking for librarians across the state of Florida. The event was well received, and our agency will continue these initiatives to help bring awareness and to combat the issue of human trafficking in our state.

Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project

Last week, more than 100 DJJ Probation & Community Intervention and Residential Commitment staff members from Circuit 17 participated in the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (JJSIP) rollout training sessions that included presentations from Founder & Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at the Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy Shay Bilchik, J.D., and Georgetown University's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Consultant Marion Kelly.  The number of staff members was so great that two sessions were required on Thursday, Dec. 4., in order to provide seating in the training room of the Gore Building in Fort Lauderdale.  

Shown above: Marion Kelly presents “Developmental Pathways to Serious and Violent Behavior” as created by Dr. R. Loeber in the Pittsburgh Youth Study.

In addition to Shay and Marion, presenters for all three Circuit 17 JJSIP meetings included Probation & Community Intervention Assistant Secretary Timothy “Tim” Niermann, Office of Residential Services Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham, Director of the Bureau of Research & Planning Mark Greenwald, and Bureau of Research and Planning’s Senior Research Associate Michael “Mike” Baglivio, Ph.D.  In fact, the Circuit 17 JJSIP rollout was the eighth rollout since the JJSIP implementation began in 2011.

Many thanks go to Circuit 17 CPO Cassandra Evans, Circuit 17 Probation Administrative Assistant II Latoya Lakloumiche, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Coordinator Andrea Webster, and Circuit 17 ACPO Aquila Lovell for all of their efforts in making the JJSIP rollout in Circuit 17 possible.

Trauma Responsive Practices (TRP) Project 

The Trauma Responsive Practices (TRP) Project, which is a continuation of the Roadmap for System Excellence and an adjunct component of the Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project (JJSIP), entered Phase II of this three-phased, year-long, research-based project.  Dec. 8-10, the On-Site Trauma-Responsive Organizational Assessments were conducted at Palm Beach Juvenile Correctional Facility (a high-risk program for males operated by Youth Services International, Inc.), Martin Girls Academy (a high-and maximum-risk program for females operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC), and the Melbourne Center for Personal Growth (a non-secure program for males operated by AMIKids, Inc.). 

Office of Residential Services Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham and Residential Services Chief Policy & Programming Meg Bates joined TRP researchers Monique Marrow, Ph.D., Jacob Ham, Ph.D., and Christopher Branson, Ph.D. as they conducted interviews with provider corporate staff and held focus groups with residential program staff and youth.

The next step in Phase II will include interviews and focus groups with youth and their families, as well as a survey-based trauma-responsive organizational assessment.  The TRP includes an assessment of programs and staff training—with a focus on working with direct care staff—to more effectively address gender-related trauma-responsive services for youth who have an increased likelihood to re-offend.  

Shown above (L-R): Dr. Chris Branson, a Child Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City; Dr. Jacob Ham, Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Director of the Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center’s program for Healing Emotions and Achieving Resilience to Traumatic Stress, Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham, Meg Bates, and Dr. Monique Marrow, who serves as Consortium Investigator for the Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice at the University of Connecticut, as Training Specialist for the University of Kentucky Center on Trauma and Children, and as instructor with Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform.

Probation Update

Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc.’s Project Connect program continues to expand its Computers in Transition initiative.  Through a strategic partnership with HP computers, Project Connect is able to donate laptop computers to youth who demonstrate ability, need, and steadfast dedication to completion of their computer-based education, vocation, and employability skills training while successfully completing the Project Connect post-commitment transition program.  Youth pictured above represent Circuits 1, 2 and 4 in the North Region and have successfully completed all education and vocation goals on their individualized service plan while in the program.  In addition, they have demonstrated a need for the laptop by enrolling in post-probation educational or vocational programming to further expand their education and/or vocational skills.  Many of these youth have jobs and are participating in successful mentoring programs in their community.  Congratulations to these youth, their Project Connect Transition Specialists and the Probation staff who helped them through a very successful transition!   

Congratulations to SJPO Ali Duran who was recently featured on the website entitled ‘Born Reign’ for her work using Kettle Bells to get in shape. The article, which you can view by clicking here, gives the reader a step by step guide for using kettle bells as a part of their individual workout. 

SJPOs Steve Lehnert and Mike Murphy, JPOS Dan Bears, JPOs Renee Westmoreland and Katie McCrary and OPS Secretary Kansas Warren delivered over 300 pounds of canned and dry goods to the Bay Area Food Bank, which will feed nearly 200 families in the area.  Probationary youth from North Okaloosa and Walton Counties were also given the opportunity to earn community service hours for bringing in canned goods.  The Officers also donated a portion of the cans to support a local elementary school’s food drive which helped one lucky second-grade class earn a pizza party. DJJ would like to thank the State Attorney’s Office and Circuit Judge Terrance Ketchel who allowed our youth to earn community service hours during this project. 

The Office of Probation and Community Intervention is pleased to announce the hiring of Terria Flakes as the new Probation Director for the South Region. Terria has 28 years of experience with the state of Florida and most recently served as the Chief Probation Officer for Circuit 11, where she bolstered her work with delinquent and dependent services to children. Terria has successfully managed Circuit 11 since 2011 and is well acquainted with the South Regional Office. Please join me in congratulating Terria on her new role! 

Randi Katz, Director of the PACE Center for Girls of Manatee County, and three of her elvesdelivered a special holiday treat to the probation officers at the Circuit 12 office in Bradenton last Tuesday. The girls from the PACE Center surprised our officers with gifts of “Snowman Soup,” which consisted of a coffee mug, hot chocolate packet and candy canes. 

Back Row: SJPO Donny Yow, SJPO Jarrett Ballo, JPOS Heather Ferrara, JPO Lisa Singer, JPO Dennis Chandler, JPO Norm Nicholas, JPO Phyllis Johnson.

Front Row: JPO Joseph Henry, PACE student, ACPO Rena Hunkeler, PACE Student, PACE Student       

Last week, Monique Verpoort from the Child Development Institute of Toronto conducted the first train-the-trainer meeting for the Stop Now and Plan program or SNAP. Probation Headquarters staff including Statewide Reform Coordinator Kara Ahearn, Director of Policy and Programming Jeannie Becker-Powell and Gubernatorial Fellow Abby Novack were among the trainees which also included Reform Specialists Melanie Kretzman and Liz Phillips from Circuit’s 2 and 8 respectively, and Laura Varela from the Institute for Child and Family Health. This new group of trainers will lead a training for new facilitators in Orlando next month. 

Last week, Circuit 20 JPOS Tracie Foss conducted a Community Re-Entry Team meeting in Collier County. JPOS Caren Langevin and Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq were also in attendance as well as members of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Collier County School Board, Project Bridge and Henkels and McCoy. Tracie discussed the importance of collaborating with service providers to ensure that our youth who are leaving residential programs are given the proper opportunities to transition back into the community. 

 On December 9, Circuit 20 JPO Byron Brown received a very nice thank you that I would like to share from a youth who successfully completed his probation. It reads:

“Once in a while someone comes along. Someone who just naturally makes everyone feel a little happier. You’ve been that someone to me. You’ve given me a new perspective on a lot of things, including myself. There are things you’ve said to me that I will always remember and ways you’ve helped me. I will never forget. The times we spend together are always good times that leave me looking forward to the next time. So thanks for being the wonderful person you are. You’re an inspiration to me and I am very glad that you’ve come into my life. Thank you for a second chance, Sir.” 

Detention Update

Assistant Secretary for Detention Services Julia Strange recently embarked on a site visit to the Bay Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) where she was greeted by Bay Superintendent Heather Hart. The tour provided a great opportunity to meet some of the juvenile justice detention officers, observe the operation of the new juvenile assessment center, and see all of the environmental changes made within the center as part of Bay’s reform efforts.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Dedilia Finlayson as the Superintendent for the St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center.  Dedilia has served over 28 years with the State of Florida most recently as the Assistant Superintendent at the facility. She has been an integral part of the facility’s long standing stability and exemplary service to youth.  Her ability to lead others, serve as a mentor to children, form relationships with community stakeholders, and proficiency in managing the daily operations of a 48 bed facility recently earned her the title of Assistant Superintendent of the Year for the South Region. Dedilia is Instructor Techniques certified and a Field Training Officer.  She will be a tremendous asset to the St. Lucie Detention Center, the community, and the south region leadership team in her new role. 

The staff from the Pasco Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) have partnered with the Humane Society of Tampa to create the YAP (Youth Assisting Puppies) program similar to the TAPS program at the Brevard RJDC. The staff from the Humane Society educated our staff and the youth at the facility on how to care for these puppies. The first batch of seven puppies arrived at the facility and they all don Christmas names including: Holly, Bell and Jingle. These puppies are just four weeks old, and all of them will be ready for adoption by Christmas day. Many of the staff, youth, and visitors alike have already begun to inquire about adopting these puppies. 

Prevention Update

The Prodigy Cultural Arts Program, a DJJ Prevention Provider, served meals for the homeless on November 21 at the Trinity Café in Tampa. Prodigy and University Area Community Development Corporation (CDC) staff volunteered at the Trinity Café which serves restaurant style meals to the homeless community in the Hillsborough County area. The mission of the Trinity Café is to restore a sense of dignity to the homeless and hungry while serving nutritious meals. It was a special day for members of the Prodigy Program to give back to others, especially around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Together with the commitment of supporters, staff, and volunteers, Trinity Café strives to be a gateway to positive change in the lives of the people it serves and seeks to enlarge its guests’ capacity for self-help and reconnecting them to the broader community.

In the above photo: University Area CDC and Prodigy staff (from left to right): Shannon Aguilar, Toni Crite, Mike Trepper, Rosie Jensing, Kisha Copeland, Ashley Elliot, Josie Rocco, Heather Harris, Nora Ward, Bree Luckie and Trancell Ward at the Trinity Café

The Office of Prevention is pleased to announce that Dorcas L. Wilcox has been named the new Interim CEO for Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services. As the Interim CEO and Chief Clinical Officer, Ms. Wilcox has pledged to work diligently for Miami Bridge to remain a center of excellence for their youth. She said she looks forward to meeting stakeholders and hearing their input on how Bridge staff can continually work with partners to empower their youth.

Ms. Wilcox replaces Mary Andrews, past CEO, who led Miami Bridge for over five years and will be greatly missed. Ms. Andrews’ dedication to Miami-Dade's underprivileged youth was an inspiration to both staff and community. While Ms. Andrews has departed, Bridge staff pledge to keep her momentum moving forward.

Miami 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.

On December 3, Delinquency Prevention Specialist Onazina Washington and Procurement Specialist Becky Bodie conducted a site visit at the 50 LARGE facilities, a DJJ Prevention Provider in Tallahassee. The mission of 50 LARGE is changing lives by inspiring hope, molding character, teaching responsibility, and providing real opportunity for young men, ages 11-19. 50 LARGE was established in 2009 through a Gang Free Schools and Communities Grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Onazina and Becky also visited the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend facility on December 3. For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. They develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The Big Brothers Big Sisters vision is that all children achieve success in life.

In the above photo from  left to right: Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBS) CEO, Louis Garcia; BBBS Program Manager Glen-Marie Hamilton; BBBS Chief Outreach Officer Kristie Teal; Prevention Specialist Onazina Washington and Procurement Specialist Becky Bodie during site visit in Tallahassee.

Statewide DMC Coordinator Joshua Kuch and Circuit Advisory Board Liaison Yvonne Maffia visited the Boys and Girls Club of Volusia/Flagler Counties on November 20 at the Rymfire Elementary School in Palm Coast. In order to review programs and to conduct a site visit, Josh and Yvonne toured the Boys & Girls Club and visited with staff and students.

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens and leaders. The clubs serve boys and girls ages 6-18 with an emphasis on: outreach to teens, gender inclusion and family involvement. A Boys & Girls Club provides: A safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals, Life-enhancing programs and character-building experiences, hope and opportunity.

In the attached photo: Yvonne Maffia (standing at rear left), Joshua Kuch (standing at rear right), Shantelle Britt (standing at rear near Josh), Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia Flagler County Rymfire Unit, and the youth from the Boys & Girls Club

Federal Grants Manager Yvonne Woodard recently attended the Second Annual Youth Empowerment Summit in Tallahassee. This event was sponsored by the Tallahassee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Delta GEMS), in collaboration with Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. (Distinguished Young Gentlemen of America), Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. (Kappa League), and Omega Psi Phi (Omega Lamplighters).

The event attracted almost 300 students from different youth and religious organizations where they participated in a day of fun, food, and workshops.  Youth had an opportunity to enjoy hot topic discussions and workshops on self-esteem, anger management, and related current events. Youth had a chance to receive giveaways and prizes and breakfast, lunch, and snacks were all included for the day.

Craig Swain, DJJ Faith Coordinator recently represented the Department as a designee for the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys during a meeting with the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators in Orlando.

The Council was invited to attend the Black State Legislators’ luncheon and their forum for the purpose of informing the Legislators of the Council and to solicit their support. The mission of the Council is to research and propose measures that improve conditions affecting black men and boys

Residential Update

The residents of DOVE Academy, a non-secure program for females, ages 15 to 18, which is operated by Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc., were invited to cater for TAFAPA (Tallahassee Area Foster/Adoptive Parent Association).  This association obtains local businesses, churches, and civic groups to provide meals for foster and adoptive parents during their monthly association meeting.

The girls in the Culinary Academy prepared a meal consisting of baked ham, mac n’ cheese, green bean casserole, rolls, and banana pudding.  In addition, they served the meal to more than 50 people.  Not only was the meal enjoyed by all but comments were heard such as, “I hope you guys are here all the time.”

The students at Kissimmee Juvenile Correctional Facility, a high-risk program for males, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, prepared for their futures by completing certification in CPR, First Aid, and AED.  The instructor for the course is a part of Kissimmee’s Community Advisory Board and was elated to teach the students the lifesaving techniques.  Kissimmee’s Youth Advisory Board and the Community Advisory Board collaborate to ensure that all students at the program receive CPR/First Aid/AED Certification for inclusion in their Exit Portfolios—preparing each young man for the workforce before graduating from the program.  As part of their certification, each youth also learned about CPR for infants and small children.

Health Services Update

Dr. Gayla Sumner from the Office of Health Services participated in a panel discussion at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) annual conference on December 6 in Orlando. The panel discussion was entitled “Decriminalizing Mental Illness: Opportunities for Criminal Justice and Mental Health System Collaboration.” Dr. Sumner also presented during the breakout sessions on “How the Department of Juvenile Justice deals with Mental Health Needs.”

FJJA Call for Presentations

The Florida Juvenile Justice Association (FJJA) is accepting proposals for workshop presentations for their 2015 Annual Adolescent Conference, which will be held in Orlando on May 18–20, 2015. FJJA convenes this annual adolescent conference to improve the professional skills of juvenile justice professionals and other child serving agencies who work with at-risk youth. The FJJA seeks intermediate and advanced presentations for executive, administrative, clinical and direct practice professionals.

All DJJ proposals must be approved prior to submission to the FJJA. Please provide your presentation goals and general content to Brenda Posthumus for consideration. If you have questions, please consult your supervisor. The FJJA deadline for proposals is December 19.

Annual SkillPro online training must be completed by December 31. You can get to SkillPro by clicking the logo on your DJJ computer desktop. Required online courses are linked on your My Learning page. For clarification on training requirements, please review staff training policy FDJJ – 1520. If you have any questions, you may submit them using the Get Help! button in SkillPro. Be sure to include your name, email address and telephone number.

FORGOT LOGIN/FIRST-TIME USER You can get your User ID by clicking I forgot my User ID on the login screen. Click I forgot my Password to get a temporary password. First-time users must set up their security questions when setting a password, or their account will become locked. If your account is locked, please see your training coordinator for assistance.

COURSE TEST REMINDER: When taking a course posttest, you must select the “Record Score and Exit Course” button for your score to be recorded and reported as “complete.” SkillPro will not record your test score if you do not click the "Record Score and Exit Course” button at the bottom of the test results screen. If you exit by clicking on one of your browser buttons (“X” button at top right of screen or back arrow at the top left), there will not be a record of your score. If no is scored recorded, you must re-take the posttest.

More information about SkillPro is available on the SD&T home page.