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Secretary's Message

June 13, 2016

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter

I am deeply saddened by the horrific terrorist event which took place over the weekend in Orlando. It is my hope that each of you will keep the victims, their families, those touched by this tragedy, and the community of Orlando in your thoughts during this time of grief and recovery. 

We must remember in times following senseless acts of violence and tragedy, children and teenagers can be impacted in very different ways than adults. Below you will find a link to a resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network with tips and guides on helping youth after catastrophic mass violence. Please feel free to pass this information along to providers, stakeholders, parents and others whom you feel may be benefit from this important information. 


For our DJJ and other state employees who feel they need support in response to this tragedy, The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The EAP provides confidential help from trained counselors and can connect you with helpful resources. You can call the EAP at 1-800-860-2058 (TDD 1-888-833-2017) or visit their website at www.myflorida.com/myeap.   

I am incredibly thankful and proud of the brave men and women in law enforcement and the local first responders for their efforts during this tragic event. While tragedies such as these are heart wrenching, it gives me hope to see how quickly our country comes together to support one another and I encourage you to continue to do so through this difficult time.  Although our resolve might feel tested by this unspeakable event, we are always our strongest when we come together as one community, one state, and one nation. 


Christina K. Daly

JJSIP All Sites In-Service Education Meeting 

Last week, I joined approximately 250 staff members from across the state at the Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project (JJSIP) All-Sites In-Service Education Meeting in Ocala.  Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann and I welcomed staff from probation, residential, research, education, and general counsel-from Key West, Pensacola, Jacksonville, and parts in between. 

The goal of the meeting and sessions was to delve into the topics that have recurred in almost every circuit where JJSIP has been implemented in the past five years, to share lessons that we have learned, and to discuss JJSIP methods and the research behind the use of those strategies.  

The meeting began with a half-day session titled “Monday with Marion”, featuring Marion Kelly, Managing Partner with the Comprehensive Strategy Group and Consultant for JJSIP at Georgetown University.  She discussed family engagement and transition readiness for re-entry.  With the assistance from Research Analyst Katherine Gomez, the session concluded with a brief discussion about youth with problem sexual behaviors. 

We were especially fortunate to have Shay Bilchik, J.D., Founder and Director of the Center forsrc= Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, as a facilitator and speaker Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tuesday included a full day of sessions comprised of a wide range of topics.  On both Monday and Tuesday evenings, separate small group meetings were held for reform specialists, residential and probation regional directors, chief probation officers and assistant chief probation officers, data integrity officers, education staff, and residential and commitment staff.  This meeting concluded with a half-day on Wednesday. 

Shay Bilchik spoke at the closing session and discussed the importance of communication among all stakeholders who are a part of the juvenile justice system and the need for each group of stakeholders to keep and maintain the best interest of the child, the family, and the community in mind when making decisions.


I want to thank the following members of the Executive Leadership Team for presenting in sessions and attending the meeting: Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann, Assistant Secretary for Residential Services Laura Moneyham, Assistant Secretary for Probation and Community Intervention Paul Hatcher, Director of the Office of Research and Data Integrity Mark Greenwald, General Counsel Brian Berkowitz, and Director of Education Julie Orange

Shown left (left to right): Project Coordinator from the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Suzie Dhere and Shay Bilchik. 

Shown right: Mark Greenwald presenting in the “JJSIP Mini Rollout"

Education Update 

On May 19, 2016 PACE Center for Girls hosted a panel discussion in collaboration with the United Way of Broward for the Leadership Broward Class 34. The main topic for discussion was Human Trafficking and how it effects Broward County. The panel discussion included speakers Jumorrow Johnson, victim advocate at Florida Atlantic University Police Department and vice president of education and outreach with the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition; Pamela Washington, victim specialist with the FBI; and, Tabitha Bush, reach program coordinator at PACE who also serves as the vice president of events and fundraising of the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition. The panelist discussed their involvement in the community, and their work in helping to eradicate human trafficking. The class was provided information about PACE Center for Girls and the key indicators and statistics in Broward County on human trafficking. 

Legislative Affairs Update

On June 2 and 3, Legislative Affairs Director Meredith Stanfield and Deputy Legislative Affairs Director Jon Conley led tours of DJJ prevention, probation, detention, and residential programs for the Office of Policy and Budget’s Public Safety Unit to help educate staff on the agency and its programs. The tours included visits to the PACE Center for Girls of Leon County, JoAnn Bridges Academy, the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center, the Leon Juvenile Assessment Center, and Capitol City Youth Services. In addition to the Office of Legislative Affairs, the following DJJ staff joined the tours: Assistant Secretary for Prevention Alice Sims and Deputy Manager for Prevention Marcus Smith Deputy Communications Director Amanda Fortuna, CPO David Cornuet, and Operations SMA II Lori Jernigan from DJJ Residential Services.

The Office of Policy and Budget (OPB) provides coordinated planning, policy development, budgeting and evaluation in support of the Governor, state agencies and the legislature, as well as providing planning, policy and budgetary analyses and recommendations for the Executive Office of the Governor. OPB is organized into 9 units and DJJ reports to the Public Safety Unit.

Shown above: (left to right): Jon Conley, Deputy Legislative Affairs Director; Alice Sims, Assistant Secretary for Prevention; Meredith Stanfield, Legislative Affairs Director; Staff from OPB; PACE girls Cheyenne and Trinnedy. Kelly Otte, PACE Leon Executive Director, and former PACE girl and current teacher Kristel Avilus.

Palm Beach County Proud

In the spirit of partnership and collaboration, the Youth Advisory Board at the Palm Beach Youth Academy (PYA) residential program recently held a birthday party for seven residents at the Palm Beach Juvenile Detention Center. 

Members of the advisory board put together gift bags filled with candy, chips, pastries, and hygiene products.  The other students all wrote positive messages in the birthday cards that were also given to the residents whose birthdays were being celebrated.  PYA Assistant Facility Administrator Shantia Daniels brought over all the gift bags along with cake, ice cream, and juice for the celebration. A special thank you to Sequel Youth Services for helping to facilitate this positive celebration! 

Probation Update

ACPO Dorothy Malik and Reform Specialist Michelle Simpson from Circuit 19 attended an end of the school year celebration which was hosted by the local Boys and Girls club and the Saint Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. The over sixty youth in attendance were treated to hamburgers and hot dogs as well as a bounce house and basketball hoops for all to enjoy. Several community groups were on hand to man resource tables and both Dorothy and Michelle spoke with many of the youth who dropped by. 

Eckerd Youth Services held their first ever Hero of the Year Banquet in Circuit 19  which honored community members who have invested their time and talent into the young people of the Treasure Coast. CPO Wydee’a Wilson was the guest speaker during the banquet which was catered by Applebee’s and ACPO Dorothy Malik announced the winner of the Treasure division. Each of the nominees were recognized with a certificate while each finalist was honored with a trophy. 

On May 25th, 2016, Eckerd Kids, Paxen, and HBI leadership conducted a workshop entitled "Maximizing Career Pathways for Out of School Court Involved Youth" at the 2016 National Association for Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) Conference in Orlando, FL. The presentation was focused on serving juvenile justice youth based on the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) defined elements. The team discussed numerous barriers to program suitability and completion along with potential strategies to engage youth through the use of motivational interviewing to improve outcomes for the out of school youth population. The workshop provided attendees with best practices learned through a collaborative program known as “Project Bridge”, which is operated across Central and South Florida. Funded by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and operated by Eckerd Kids, the program partners with Paxen, HBI, and Eckerd Kids Workforce Development to deliver education, credentialing, and career pathways to 254 youth on a daily basis who are transitioning from residential facilities. The workshop was a complete success with approximately 80 attendees representing organizations throughout the nation.

From left to right: Jonathan Zeigler, VP of Paxen Operations; Ana Albrecht, Eckerd Kids Operations Director for FL Juvenile Justice Programs; Arlis Roberts, Eckerd Kids Workforce Career Service Coordinator; and Crystal Dennis, HBI Program Manager for Project Bridge. Missing from the photo was Curtis Campogni, Eckerd Kids Project Bridge Program Manager.

DJJ reform specialists from around the state gathered to discuss various reforms and participate in the statewide JJSIP meetings held in Ocala. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, smiles, and learning. For the first time since the creation of the reform specialist position, there is a specialist in every single circuit!   

Pictured (starting from the top): Jon Vertress (C20),  Melanie Kretzman (C8),  Tina Robinson (C17),  Secretary Daly, Michelle Simpson (C19),  Therese Moses (C1),  Sandra Pinkney (C13),  Tracy Olson-Luker (C18),  Chris Massey (C7),  Elaine Thompson (C16),  Jarrett Ballon (C12),  Jeannie Becker-Powell (Director of Policy and Programming),  Randy Reynolds (C5),  Adrienne Conwell (C6),  Michelle Galloway (C3),  Melinda Wesley - Nelson (C9),  Sam Lyons (C2),  Vernolda Dilworth (C10),  Shirlon McCarty (C15), Liz Phillips (Statewide Reform Coordinator),  and Donna  Clayton (C4).  Not pictured: Maria Gilhooley (C11) and Bree Thaxton (C14).

Detention Update

 Garden Programs in DJJ Detention Centers

 Palm Beach Juvenile Detention Center

Over the last two months, youth, staff and teachers from the Palm Beach RJDC have been busy planting and re-planting fruits, vegetables and herbs in the hydroponic garden. As we roll into June, the garden is blossoming with a vast array of sun flowers, strawberries, mint, sage, carrots, peppers, kale, collard greens, chives and lettuce.

The staff taught the youth how to harvest the plants prior to cooking and even showed them how to clip greens. The kitchen staff at Palm Beach made a small meal of collard greens, kale, yellow rice and chicken for those who worked so hard in the garden. This was a wonderful experience for both the staff and youth turned into a productive team-building exercise. 

The Palm Beach garden is one of three detention centers across the state which uses internal grant funding from the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG) to improve both the greenhouse and culinary arts programs at their facilities. The goal of this program is to provide a nurturing and therapeutic environment for the youth as they learn about nutrition and how to grow their own food and cook healthy. Secondly, it will assist this facility in providing nourishing meals to the youth at the lowest cost possible.

Southwest Florida Regional Detention Center

The Southwest RJDC recently established a new garden on the grounds of the facility, and staff and youth alike have been busy planting and cultivating it. Currently, the garden consists of vegetables and an array of tropical plants. The new garden has had a tremendous effect on the youth behavior at Southwest. The students are learning about the different types of plants and enjoy watering and planting them as well as pulling the weeds from the garden every Saturday. In addition, Southwest has recently installed a turtle pond and the kids have become very fond of their new pet turtles. 

Pinellas Regional Detention Center

The Pinellas RJDC’s hydroponic garden has made recent enhancements by adding an herb garden which will be used for preparing meals for the youth in the facility’s kitchen. Pinellas currently has one staff member and one volunteer who work with 3-5 youth for 4-8 hours per week to maintain and harvest the garden. 


I am excited to share that St. Lucie Regional Juvenile Detention Center Superintendent Dedilia Finlayson, DJJ Assistant Secretary for Detention Services Dixie Fosler,  and Detention Officer Pamela Reddick have all reached a very special milestone.  Each of these wonderful women are celebrating 30 years of service to the state of Florida.  On behalf of our entire agency, I would like to congratulate them and thank them for their dedication and commitment to our state!

The youth at the Hillsborough Juvenile Detention Center recently wrote letters in remembrance of Memorial Day. The youth shared what Memorial Day meant to them and expressed their appreciation for the brave men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.  To view all of the letters, please click here

Local West Palm Beach student Isabel Winn is an avid lover of books. With her bookcase overflowing, she took it upon herself to start a book donation drive to benefit our students at the Palm Beach RJDC. With the help of many of her classmates, Isabel received over 200 books which were then donated to our facility on May 15. On behalf of the entire agency, I would like to thank Isabel for such a wonderful donation! 

JJDO Katanga Papillion-Perkins from the Manatee RJDC spoke during a Replay Outreach event on May 2 at the IMG Academy Golf Club in Bradenton. Katanga spoke on how DJJ promotes Trauma Informed Care in our facilities. Replay Outreach is a program for at-risk and troubled youth in Manatee and Sarasota counties which engages, inspires and transforms damaging life patterns by giving these youth hope for their future. President and Founder of Replay Outreach praised DJJ during the event for our support of Replay and said that we help him turn these youth’s troubles into triumphs.

These adorable pictures are the new litter of puppies at the Okaloosa RJDC. These puppies give our youth the opportunity to receive valuable pet therapy while at the detention center. They will stay at the facility until they are ready for adoption.

Prevention Update

Twenty-seven DJJ staff from all program areas attended the 31st National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community May 25-27 in Miami. The purpose of the conference was to identify and understand crime-related issues affecting the black community and to promote positive solutions to overcome and eliminate these problems.

Assistant Secretary for Prevention Alice Sims gave the opening remarks and highlighted the statewide reform efforts of The Roadmap to System Excellence and encouraged each faith-based and community-based leaders, government officials, educators and stakeholders to impact their communities by changing from “Making a Living to Making a Difference.”

During the conference, innovative ideas were exchanged and crime prevention strategies discussed that have been successful in the black community. Attendees shared the responsibility and desire to promote positive solutions to overcome and eliminate black-on-black crime in Florida and across the nation. The conference was an opportunity for participants to learn from experts, network with peers and identify successful solutions to strengthen and protect all communities.

Among the presenters were Craig Swain, faith network coordinator and Eugene Morris, special projects administrator, both in the Office of Prevention. They presented a workshop titled, “Engaging Florida communities one neighborhood at a time through faith and outreach.” More than 1,200 people attended the conference.

Circuit Advisory Board (CAB) Liaison Patrice Richardson and Delinquency Prevention Specialist Onazina Washington III attended the Circuit 8 CAB meeting in Trenton on May 24. During the meeting, the following topics were discussed: truancy, 3-year comprehensive plan for 2017, Invest in Children solicitation, ideas for community outreach projects, re-entry concerns and a legislative wrap-up report. Patrice also presented outgoing CAB Chair Jim Pearce with a certificate of appreciation for his years of valuable service. The certificate was signed by myself and Assistant Secretary Alice Sims.

In the above photo (from left to right), Patrice Richardson (CAB Statewide Liaison), Jim Pearce (CAB Chair, Circuit 8), Rebecca Shinholser (Vice CAB Chair, Circuit 8 ), Rebecca Rogers (ACPO, Circuit 8 ). 

Faith Network Coordinator Craig Swain attended a teen workshop during a meeting of the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys in Miami on May 25-27. The purpose of this meeting was for the Council to work on upcoming events and host the teen workshops during the 31st National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community Conference.

During the teen workshop, the Council heard a presentation from Edward Dejesus, who serves as a consultant who conducts seminars on improving the lives of at-risk youth. Dejesus spoke to the audience full of teenagers about the decisions they make and the lasting impact they have on their future. Dejesus offered teens advice concerning choosing friends, the importance of education, life skills, and securing meaningful employment. 

Residential Update

Recently, Broward Youth Treatment Center (BYTC), a non-secure program for boys, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by Youth Services International, Inc., held a graduation ceremony for five students who received their high-school diplomas.  Special guests included Broward County School Board officials, teachers, parents, and BYTC staff.  All five of these students will leave the program either entering the workforce or attending community college. 

The residents at Cypress Creek Juvenile Offender Correctional Center, a maximum- risk program for boys, ages 13 to 21, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, put to practice what they have been learning in their Home Builders Institute (HBI) carpentry class and built a wall partition for one of their classrooms.  They measured, cut, and leveled wood and then applied the drywall and painted the wall.  These students who went through the HBI class received pre-apprenticeship training in facility maintenance and industry-recognized certificates that will improve their overall marketability to potential employers.  

The residents at Palm Beach Youth Academy, a high-risk program for boys, ages 15 to 21, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC applied the skills that they learned in the Home Builders Institute class (HBI) and built their own corn hole boards.  HBI’s mission is to advance and provide education, career development, training, and placement of those serving the building industry.  HBI Vocational Instructor Mr. Gary Miles assisted the residents with building the corn hole boards, which will be used during recreational activities.