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Secretary's Message

December 23, 2014


Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter



I wish to reiterate my joy and excitement at the opportunity to lead this agency as Governor Scott begins his second term. There is no more important mission than helping the children of Florida to become successful  adults.  As we enter this most joyous holiday season, my greatest thanks to all the staff of DJJ and our many providers and stakeholders for making this agency the best that it can be. I know the new year will be one we can all look forward to as we continue this very important work.  




Christina K. Daly


Models for Change National Working Conference

Last week, I traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the 9th Annual Models for Change National Working Conference. Models for Change is hosted by the MacArthur Foundation and supported by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. The conference is designed to bring together juvenile justice leaders and practitioners to share cutting-edge advancements in the field. During the conference I was honored to be a panelist for one of the breakout sessions entitled: “Influencing Behavioral Health and Juvenile Justice Reform: Experiences of the Federal Partnership States.” In addition to Florida, this panel featured national and state leaders in the field of juvenile justice including representatives from Michigan and New York.  


DJJ’s Statewide Civil Citation Coordinator Theda Roberts along with Rob Mason with the Office of the Public Defender in the 4th Judicial Circuit held a civil citation workshop which was very well received.  Also in attendance at the conference was Dr. Gayla Sumner, Director of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services in DJJ’s Office of Health Services. 



Our agency has been involved with Models for Change since its inception, and the insight gained from listening to leaders and experts from other parts of the country has proven to be invaluable for our own juvenile justice system. 




Juvenile Justice Officer Graduations

Secretary Christina Daly honored the newest class of juvenile probation officers (JPOs) by delivering the graduation address in a ceremony at DJJ headquarters in Tallahassee on Friday, December 19. JPOs ensure youth 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.


Congratulations to the juvenile detention officers (JDOs) who graduated on the same day in a ceremony at the Hillsborough Community College Criminal Justice Institute, in Tampa. Thanks to Frank Gargett, central region director for Detention Services, for delivering the JDOs’ graduation address. JDOs supervise youth in detention facilities as they await an appearance before the court or placement in a residential treatment program. 


Kudos to DJJ learning consultants Christy Ash and Kiva Hagans for leading the officers through the certification process for these positions of critical responsibility. The graduates will serve in the city or facility listed next to their names, below.

First row (left to right): Erica Jordan – Quincy, Tara Armstrong – Alachua, Meeta Amin – Ocala, Terez Fuller – Daytona Beach, Chrisline Jean – Orlando, Joanna Lopez – Naples



Second row: Shanna Flowers – Orlando, Dakota Reddish – Lake City, Deborah Bunch – Fort Pierce, Angenette Williams – Tampa, Stephanie Floyd – Bartow, Marisol Robles – Fort Myers



Third row:  Bryan Puig – Ft. Lauderdale, Steffani Saddler – Jacksonville,  Leslie Dufresne – Margate, Kara Brown – Sarasota, Devin Robinson – Okeechobee



Back row: Jesin Miah – Deland, Heriberto Gonzalez – Margate, Duke Wiser – Panama City, Warren Toebe – Fort Myers, Matthew Borboa – Sarasota, Jessica Worrell – Tampa, April Hill – Orlando, Julius Mitchell – Ft. Pierce

Front row (left to right):  Jim Hicks-Hillsborough-West Juvenile Detention Center (JDC), Rashmie Ramkissoon-Pinellas JDC, Steve Zappi-Hillsborough-West JDC, Georgia Lawrence- Hillsborough-West JDC, Johan Andrade-Manatee RJDC, Karesha Williams-Manatee RJDC and Learning Consultant Kiva Hagans.



Second row:  Nathan Coon-Manatee RJDC, Anthony Estrada-Pinellas JDC, James Oatman- Hillsborough-West JDC, Katesha Austin- Hillsborough-West JDC, Doneshia Weaver-Pinellas JDC, Clifford Pugh-Manatee RJDC and Betty Jones-Manatee RJDC.



Back row:  Joshua Ross-Manatee RJDC, Kenyatta Owens-Pinellas JDC, Benjamin Bowden-Manatee RJDC, David Tippy-Manatee RJDC, Frank O’Harroll- Hillsborough-West JDC, Joshua Jackman-Manatee RJDC and Aaron Polster-Pinellas JDC.


HQ Holiday Door Decoration Contest

I would like to thank everyone at DJJ-HQ for showing such holiday enthusiasm and positive cheer by decorating their doors for the last several weeks for the Holiday Door Decoration Contest. Our employees have great imagination and talent, and we received some amazing entries this year. Our judging committee reviewed 33 entries this year and were awestruck as to how many people got into the Holiday spirit.



And the winner is…


Residential/Main Door – 2nd Floor



Congratulations, everyone!  A very special thank you to our Judges, Asst. Secretary Wanda Finnie, Asst. Secretary Laura Moneyham, Asst. Secretary Tim Niermann, and Asst. Secretary Julia Strange.  May your holidays be filled with joy and good health!



Youth Investment Awards


The Office of Education and the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation (FJJF) are accepting applications and nominations for the Youth Investment Award (YIA). The YIA provides education or employability assistance to youths-in-transition, ages 15-21, who are or were served by DJJ. The YIA assists with the next step essential to academic achievement or workforce readiness which cannot be met through any other available resources essential to the youth’s success.  Awards may contribute to tuition for post-secondary or vocational education, supplies, transportation, education or employability assistance, with funding paid directly to the vendor.



Applicants must complete the entire application, which includes a 100 word essay and demonstrated initiative taken to reach education or employment goals by the youth, and the vendor information. Send applications to Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation, Inc., 2737 Centerview Drive, Tallahassee, FL  32399-0400 or Email: Caroline.Ray@djj.state.fl.us.


JJSIP Update

On Dec. 15, the Circuit 1 Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project (JJSIP) continued its rollout with 25 people reviewing three juvenile placement cases in a four-hour workshop with DJJ probation and residential staff members and community stakeholders.  Many thanks go to Circuit 1 CPO Paul Wallis for facilitating the workshop and to Gubernatorial Fellow for Probation Abigail Novak who developed a revised format for the study of each case as it pertains to the Structured Decision Making tool and to identifying gaps in services for juvenile justice involved youth.  This was the first use of the new case study format documents. 

Presenters included Probation & Community Intervention Assistant Secretary Timothy “Tim” Niermann; Circuit 1 JPOs Therese Moses, Marcia Armstrong, and Faye Griggs; GOC-II, Kara Ahearn; Probation & Community Intervention Director of Policy and Programming Jeannie Becker-Powell; Residential Services Programs & Policy Coordinator Meg Bates; and GOC-II Vanessa Wicker. 



Prevention Update

On November 22, Chaplains Dennis and Betty Buchanan conducted a new six hour training seminar for volunteer chaplains at the Juvenile Detention Center in San Antonio, FL. The purpose of this training was to educate and prepare volunteers to engage youth and families in our care.  The volunteer Chaplaincy Basic Training was developed to ensure all DJJ Chaplains are prepared to successfully serve the youth and families within the juvenile justice system. To date, more than 600 volunteer chaplains and faith volunteers have completed the Chaplains’ Basic Training. We would like to thank Mark and David Narankevecius, Hazel Wells, Michael Curry, Moriah Trowell, and Judah Beckel for taking part in the training. 


Delinquency Prevention Specialist Lydia Breaux-Davis attended a Community Partners Appreciation open house for the Community Drug and Alcohol Council (CDAC) in Pensacola on December 5. CDAC is the primary community behavioral health resource or substance abuse prevention and intervention for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties.   CDAC offers programs, community support and collaboration to address drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco, mental health issues and violence at home and in the community. Using a holistic approach, CDAC combats problems by engaging in the entire community including schools, law enforcement, parents, counselors, students and case managers. 


On December 9, the PACE Center for Girls of Pasco County decorated the Good Samaritan Health Care Clinic in New Port Richey. This free local health clinic was dolled up by the girls at the local PACE Center in a holiday theme. Many of the clients who come to the clinic won’t be able to celebrate the holidays on their own, so the staff at the clinic likes to make sure it is decorated. Staff time is limited so they aren’t able to put up the decorations. Every year, a group of girls from the Pasco PACE Center spends a day making the clinic look beautiful for the holidays.



To the right, PACE Pasco girls and Social Services Manager, Brienne Gilbo (standing at left), at the Good Samaritan Health Care Clinic in New Port Richey.


Delinquency Prevention Specialist Onazina Washington attended a Christmas party for the 50 LARGE organization on December 17 in Tallahassee. Leon County school officials and other stakeholders joined the 50 Large youth for the holiday celebration. The mission of 50 Large is to change lives by inspiring hope, molding character, teaching responsibility, and providing real opportunity for young men, ages 11-19.


Procurement Specialist Becky Bodie and Special Projects Administrator Eugene Morris traveled to Jacksonville on December 17 to conduct a site visit at the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of girls by improving the ways in which they are treated.


The mission of the policy center is to “engage communities, organizations and individuals through quality research, community organizing, advocacy, training and model programming to advance the rights of girls and young women, especially those in the justice and child protection systems.” See more here


Probation Update

Each year, our youth from the AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute take the time to honor seniors at the Bay County Council on Aging Respite Care in Panama City. These youth helped pass out food and silverware, engaged in conversation and entertained the residents by dancing for them. Several of the youth noted that helping out others is truly part of the magic of Christmas. All in all, this has proven to be an exceptional experience for the seniors who praise the youth for being so kind and respectful.


CPO Diane Pearson and Reform Specialist Melanie Kretzman from Circuit 8 coordinated a stakeholder meeting on December 17 to solicit those interested in facilitating the Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) group in Gainesville. Over 60 community partners showed up from a variety of agencies including Office of the State Attorney, Public Defenders, Corner Drug Store, Boys and Girls Club, Gainesville Police Department, Gainesville Sheriff’s Office, Guardian ad Litem, Community Based Care, Children’s Medical services and the University of Florida. Jeannie Becker-Powell and Kara Ahearn from Headquarters and Circuit 2 Reform Specialist Liz Phillips presented these stakeholders with basic understanding of SNAP and its value for the community in intervening with young children before they enter the juvenile justice system. A SNAP model training is scheduled to begin next month.


Probation Headquarters staff partnered with Living Stones International and the New Birth Tabernacle of Praise of Tallahassee on December 16 for the Second Annual Holiday Food, Fun, and Fellowship Dinner. This event benefited the Children of Inmates program and their caregivers. These kids ranging from six months to 18 years old received a warm meal, entertainment, and gifts. Toys for Tots donated all of the toys for each youth to take home with them and our own Mark Russell from the Office of Research and Planning  joined the Band Ferguson and kept all those who attended happy and dancing.  Elle Belle Photography was able to provide all of the family’s photos from both the posed pictures with the backdrop and candid photos that were taken during the dinner. I would like to thank Statewide Reform Specialist Kara Ahearn, GOC III Amy Greenwald, Reform Specialist Liz Phillips, Statewide Transition Coordinator Sanshell Bussey and Administrative Assistant Lauren Floyd for putting together this great event. All of the families left with full bellies, warm hearts, and a sack full of toys!    


JPOS Marilyn Walker and SJPO Jared White from Circuit 13 participated in a community service project on December 15 which was put together by the Pinellas County Urban Young Life and the Greater Ridgecrest YMCA. The event, entitled the Affordable Christmas Project, was the first of its kind in Pinellas County. The project allowed 31 low-income parents the ability to purchase discounted toys and gifts for their 80 plus children. A handful of our probationary youth, community providers and volunteers helped out on this project.


JPOs from Circuit 15 participated in the Suncoast High School Career Showcase on December 11. Suncoast High is an International Baccalaureate School located in Palm Beach County and where two of our JPOs, Frank Grant and Rebakah Wilson, both graduated. Our JPOs interacted with the students and gave them information about the various careers within the department. Our presence was well received and school officials have requested our agency to conduct future presentations for their students. JDAI Coordinator Kathy Demosthenes and Reform Specialist Shirlon McCarthy will coordinate these presentations in the near future.




PREA Update

Congratulations to the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center and the Manatee Regional Detention Center for passing their PREA Audits!  The Audit Report can be found on The Department’s Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Web page by clicking here.




Residential Update

The young men of Brevard Group Treatment Home (BGTH), a non-secure program in Cocoa that serves boys, ages 12 to 15, which is operated by Aspire Health Partners, planted its third crop of vegetables this fall with the help the Merritt Island Breakfast Rotary Club.  This is the third season for the generously donated 25-ft. x 25-ft. on-site garden!  The Rotary Club donates all the materials and the members provide their labors of love.  They also provide ongoing training and education to the boys of BGTH on garden maintenance and harvesting...complete with life lessons along the way.


Attorney Jason Hedman, chairperson for the Merritt Island Breakfast Rotary Club, also is a member of the BGTH Community Advisory Board.  Mr. Hedman stops by every Sunday if only for a few minutes to check on the young men and see if they have any needs pertaining to their garden.  Once harvested, the crops are given away to those in the Cocoa community who are in need as part of a restorative justice project. 


The residents of BGTH continue to participate in a myriad of restorative justice competency builders that include giving back to the community in which they reside.  Through consistent exposure and opportunities to learn new skills at BGTH, the program is preparing the young men to return home with the skills they need to be successful and to increase community safety.


Many thanks go to Diana Robinson for coordination with Mr. Hedman and to Mr. Hedman and the Rotarians for their unwavering commitment to excellence and productivity in the young men of BGTH.


This fall, the staff of Daytona Juvenile Residential Facility (JRF), a high-risk program for males, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, faced a unique challenge in helping a young man transition back to the community after program completion.  Due to his circumstances, the young man could not return to his home and rather than being placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, his grandmother offered to have him live with her but she needed a place to live that would be appropriate for them both.

The youth’s JPO took this challenge and found them both a new place to live.  Another challenge presented itself as his grandmother did not have any furniture, cookware, linens, or much food.  The team at Daytona JRF met the challenge and found ways to provide these items for the family in order to give the youth a chance to succeed.  Community Case Manager Ann McPherson contacted Open Arms Ministries, which provided food for a month.  Then, staff at Daytona JRF donated household items such as pots and pans, linens, and towels.  Clinical Director Keniesha Francis donated a sofa bed and Assistant Facility Administrator Javonte Crenshaw donated a brand new futon for the family.  Health Services Administrator Ashley Alban used her SUV and a trailer to transport the furniture, materials, and food to the family’s new home.  The grandmother was grateful for all the help and now the family has a fresh new start to help them succeed.  

From left to right:  HSA Ashley Alban, the youth’s grandmother, AFA Javonte Crenshaw, and Community Case Manager Ann McPherson helped the family move in to their new home.


Recently, five young men and two staff members from Dade Juvenile Residential Facility—a non-secure program for males, ages 13 to 18, also operated by G4S—went to the local soup kitchen in Florida City to volunteer their time.  The youth assisted in a variety of ways, including preparing and serving meals to those less fortunate who live in the community.  The time spent at the kitchen provided the boys with a wonderful opportunity to gain community service hours and to experience the importance of helping others.


The Melbourne Center for Personal Growth, a non-secure program operated by AMIkids for males, ages 13 to 18, participated in the 2014 Operation Christmas Child (OCC), a Samaritan’s Purse ministry project.  The project was initiated at the Melbourne Center last year by Science Teacher Ruby Kehayias.  It is a venue that gives the youth a more global perspective of life.


The token economy already in place at the program served as a means for youth to “earn” an additional OCC token to be used to “purchase” items for needy children in another parts of the world.  The youth earned enough tokens to fill four shoeboxes in 2013.


OCC is now an annual project for the residents and staff.  The 2014 goal was to fill and send six shoeboxes to other parts of the world.  However, with the enthusiasm and cooperation of the youth and the overwhelming generosity of donations by the staff, the program sent 15 shoeboxes.



In addition to the restorative justice aspect of OCC, another benefit is that the young men learn about geography in a much more personal way.  When they learned that the four shoeboxes from the OCC project in 2013 went to Ghana, the students became interested in discussing and learning about the country of Ghana.


SkillPro Online Training

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.