Welcome to the new DJJ Website!
Find out how to use the new site.

Secretary's Message

July 25, 2016

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

One of my most favorite things about being Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is stopping in at a detention center, probation office or residential program to meet the staff who carry out the important DJJ mission every day. This past week I had an opportunity to be in Southwest Florida and took some time to visit staff from all three program areas as well as administrative staff, those who provide behind the scenes support we couldn’t be without. Hearing directly from staff across the state are the moments I turn towards to reinvigorate me and move forward through the challenges we sometimes face in helping youth turn their lives around for the better.

Thank you, Southwest Florida, for your hospitality, suggestions and input on how our Department is doing in providing services to youth and their families. I can’t wait to visit again in the near future! 

As a reminder, don’t forget that I am always looking for opportunities to showcase the work you all do – on and off the clock – to enrich our 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. 


Christina K. Daly

Florida Association of School Resource Officer’s 2016 Training Conference

On Monday, I was honored to be one of several speakers to address the Florida Association of School Resource Officers (FASRO) 2016 Annual Training Conference in Naples. This year’s conference was centered on “School Policing for our Next Generation,” and my message focused a great deal on how better collaboration between our agency and the SRO’s can help to reduce the number of arrests in schools. The FASRO Annual Training Conference brought together school resource officers, law enforcement, school security/safety professionals, school board members, school administrators, and others to receive superior training and networking opportunities.

Circuit 20 Site Visits 

Last week I had the opportunity to make several site visits in Circuit 20 that were coordinated with my attending the FASRO Conference. On Monday, I took a visit to the Collier RJDC as well as the local juvenile assessment center. This was followed by a meeting with the Circuit 20 probation team in Fort Myers. On Tuesday, I followed that up with a visit to the Southwest RJDC in Fort Myers as well as the Fort Myers Youth Academy residential facility.

During my visit with both detention and probation staff, I was able to answer questions and had a great discussion with staff on their input and suggestions for the Department. I appreciate the staff’s candor and would like to thank them again for their hard work and dedication to our agency and for the important role they each play in helping to turn around the lives of the youth in our juvenile justice system.

YMCA Youth In Government Meeting

On Wednesday, Chief of Staff Fred Schuknecht, Legislative Affairs Director Meredith Stanfield, and Legislative Affairs Deputy Jon Conley addressed representatives from the YMCA Youth in Government Program. DJJ provided an overview of the Department’s programs and services and recent legislation and answered questions regarding the Department and the legislative process.

Founded in 1957, the YMCA Youth in Government Program provides students the opportunity to serve as part of a youth-run, youth-led model government process while teaching them the values of civil debate, statesmanship, and research-based policy solutions. The students serve as delegates in a mock government and are provided the opportunity to engage and be active in the processes of executive, judicial and legislative branches. The program has a focus on social responsibility, civic education, and getting engaged in the political process and encourages students to “Debate ideas, not people.”

Youth Leadership Forum Luncheon

On Friday, Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann attended a luncheon honoring the Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) Mentors from the Able Trust at the University Center Club on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee. The YLF held their annual five-day leadership event this week which gives high school students with disabilities the opportunity to learn valuable leadership and social skills necessary to build character traits of self-confidence and determination as these young adults make the transition to independent living.

The mission of the Able Trust is to be a key leader in providing Floridians with disabilities opportunities for successful employment. The Able Trust supports a diversity of projects, including on-the-job coaching, supported employment, job skills-training, job development, employer outreach, ADA facility compliance, skills evaluation and programs leading to employment. 

Human Trafficking Update

This week Human Trafficking Director Bethany Gilot had the opportunity to present at the Foster Family-based Treatment Association's 30th Annual Conference alongside DCF's Human Trafficking Director Kim Grabert.  Bethany and Kim presented on the Florida Human Trafficking Screening Tool as well as other collaborative efforts that our Departments have taken to enhance our services for commercially sexually exploited and labor trafficked youth.  Bethany noted that it is always an honor to share about the great work that Florida is doing.

Bethany also had the opportunity to attend a presentation on the newly formed human trafficking court in Circuit 11 known as GRACE Court.  Dr. McGrath and Marta Torres of the CHANCE Program, Yinay Ruiz of Our Kids Miami-Dade and the Honorable Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia co-presented on this exciting new initiative.

Florida Faith Symposium

Registration is now open for the 2016 Florida Faith Symposium!

The seventh annual Florida Faith Symposium will be held November 2-3, 2016, at the Wyndham Orlando Resort in Orlando. The Faith Symposium connects conference attendees to resources, best practices, and training to enhance faith and community-based programs that serve youth and struggling families.

This event is hosted by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, in partnership with the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council and other statewide partners. Throughout the conference there will be more than 35 educational sessions and exhibit booths.

You can register here to take advantage of the early bird special! 

Detention Update 

I am pleased to announce that Major Jonathan Hackley has been named the new Superintendent at the Broward RJDC. Major Hackley comes to DJJ by way of the Department of Children and Families where he trained child protective investigators in Circuit 15 for the last ten years. Prior to working in child welfare, he was a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper, a program manager in a secure treatment facility for juveniles, and a trainer for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Major Hackley has a public service career that spans more than thirty years and has demonstrated the ability to lead a public service agency. In addition, Major Hackley has served on numerous Florida statewide work-groups responsible for the development and analysis of SMART performance expectations, retention policies and core training competencies. Major Hackley earned a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Behavior from Albright College and Master’s in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University.

With the high summer temperatures and no indoor recreation area, the staff from the Bay RJDC has decided to get creative in getting the youth at the facility to participate in physical fitness as an indoor event. Seventeen year DJJ veteran, JJDOS Joe Wright, has stepped in to create a friendly competition for our youth by utilizing his knowledge of physical fitness. Engaging in exercises created to measure not only strength but also endurance, these youths volunteered to participate for the glory of victory. While it certainly created teachable moments on how to maintain a basic level of physical fitness, and how physical activity can assist in improving the mind and body, the youth AND the staff enjoyed this afternoon fitness event.

Major Paul Finn from the Volusia RJDC received a request last week while visiting the girls at school. A young lady who is awaiting placement at a high-risk program mentioned that today was her 16th birthday and asked if there was any way that she could celebrate. Paul stepped into action and picked up a birthday cake and ice cream for the youth and commandeered several staff members and her friends to sing Happy Birthday. The young lady was completely surprised and grateful that Paul made her day so special.  


The Office of Detention Services hosted a superintendents’ training meeting July 21-22 at DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee. The training was hosted by Assistant Secretary Dixie Fosler, and I made a special appearance on July 22 to support our superintendents and had a great discussion where I asked for their input and suggestions for the Department. The training focused on the expectations of a superintendent, time management, building cleanliness and maintenance, purchasing, a review of FOP’s and how to schedule and reduce overtime. 

Pictured are Paul Britten, Statewide Trainer, Dixie Fosler, Major Finlayson-St Lucie, Adrian Mathena, statewide trainer, Marcus Wilson, SMAII, Major Driscoll-Southwest, Major Mosley-Collier, Major Seeber-Pinellas, Major Terry- Marion, Major Hackley-Broward, Major Wolf – Orange, me and Chief Antozzi-HQ.

Not Pictured Captain Berry - Okaloosa

Prevention Update 

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Marie Boswell along with ACPO Concheita Gillum and SJPOs Irving Jackson and Carlos Coronado from Circuit 11 attended the Miami-Dade Juvenile Drug Court graduation ceremony on July 1 at the Miami-Dade County Children’s Court House. Six youth were presented with Certificates of Completion from Juvenile Drug Court. Judge Orlando Prescott, Miami-Dade County Juvenile Drug Court Presiding Judge, provided reflections of and recognition of the Drug Court, nationally and internationally. The Navy Operational Support Center Miami Reserves provided the Color Guard Presentation.  Lesabre Faison sang the National Anthem.  The ceremony was heartfelt to hear the success, from entry to completion, of the youth participating in drug court. 

The Juvenile Drug Court Team: the Honorable Judge Orlando Prescott; Clarisa Linares, program coordinator; Ashley Wiggins and Stephanie Pastorino, case managers; Donna Lee Fields, assistant public defender; Cathy Sagresse, assistant state attorney; Veronica Wade, Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Carlos Coronado and Irving Jackson, senior juvenile probation officers, DJJ; and Alfred Fair, urinalysis specialist, are to be commended for their work in ensuring the success of these youth.

As a result of attendance at the Drug Court Graduation Ceremony, the assistant chief probation officer for Circuit 11 was able to identify a youth to attend the Coalition for Juvenile Justice and the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Annual Juvenile Justice Youth Summit to be held in Washington, D.C.   

In the above photo, Chief Brad Burke, US Navy (left) and the Honorable Judge Orlando Prescott.    

Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Victim Services Alice Sims attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for Slay Fit during the Girls Can Do Anything summer camp at the Oasis Center for Women and Girls in Tallahassee on July 15. The camp was in conjunction with Girls Mean Business Week and was focused on learning about and practicing entrepreneurship. Campers started the week by learning about what a business is, then collaboratively brainstormed a vision for their own enterprise -- Slay Fit, a fitness and wellness gym which features smoothie and merchandise shops, and fitness classes in body toning, yoga, and Zumba. Campers lead every aspect of business development, including the design of their logo which was drawn by one of the 11-year-olds in the program.

In addition to developing real world professional and business skills, girls learned about the concepts of spending, saving and giving. Campers selected Special Olympics Florida-Leon County to be the recipient of their philanthropic giving, with 50% of the proceeds from Slay Fit being donated to their organization. Many members of the public came out to the ribbon cutting ceremony on the 15th which allowed the girls to practice the teamwork, customer service, and leadership skills. Girls also practiced their public speaking skills as members of the marketing team participated in their first media interviews. Slay Fit, owned and operated by the girls, made around $300. One hundred fifty dollars were donated by the girls to Special Olympics and each girl walked away with $8.25 to practice her new-found money management skills.

Assistant Secretary Sims (left) and Haley Cutler, Executive Director of Oasis Center for Women and Girls.

Assistant Secretary for Prevention Alice Sims delivered the opening remarks at the Ernie Sims Big HITS Foundation’s Community Champions dinner in Tallahassee on July 9 where she encouraged partners and sponsors to continue to “Invest in Our Youth,” to help them excel both in the classroom and on the playing field. The Foundation presented book scholarships to seven deserving high school student-athletes preparing to attend college in the fall.  The student athletes were recognized for their outstanding performance in academics, athletics and community service.

The Foundation also presented awards to three outstanding community leaders for their contribution and impact to youth and families. They were Janelle Irvin, Hang Tough Foundation; Delmas Barber, City of Tallahassee; and Howard Jordan, Big HITS Performance. Also in attendance for the ceremony was Chief Policy Coordinator, Marcus Smith.   

Residential Update

Recently, Palm Beach Youth Academy, a high-risk program for boys, ages 15 to 21, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, welcomed New England Patriots Cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc and former Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Brandon McGee as guest speakers.  They spoke with the residents about obstacles they overcame and challenges they faced while pursuing their dreams of becoming players for the NFL.  The boys asked questions about how to effectively maintain positive peer relationships and how the two players stay focused and disciplined.  At the end, LeBlanc and McGee took pictures with the residents and signed footballs.

Shown right: Cre’von LeBlanc signing a football for a resident

Shown above: Cre’von LeBlanc with Representative from the Arena Football League Carlton Butler and some Palm Beach Youth Academy residents

The residents and the Advisory Board for the Palm Beach Youth Academy recently made thank you cards for soldiers who are currently deployed.  The program collaborated with Forgotten Soldiers Outreach to send the cards along with care packages filled with donated toiletry items to the soldiers.  

The students at Okeechobee Intensive Halfway House, a non-secure program for boys, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, recently visited Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Okeechobee and assisted with preparing their butterfly garden for the annual butterfly counting competition.  Youth Case Worker and Wildlife Volunteer Tyler Smith supervised the project.  The boys removed weeds and trimmed away overgrowth throughout the butterfly garden.  Center Owner and Director Sue Arnold was extremely satisfied with their work.  When they finished, the residents toured the Center’s grounds and they all agreed they would enjoy coming back and making it an ongoing community service project site. 

Probation Update

DJJ Court Unit Coordinator Janice Charlassier from Circuit 17 assisted with a presentation of the Juvenile Pre-Disposition Pilot (JPS) program on July 20 during the Dependency Court Improvement Project (DCIP) meeting. Janice was on hand to support managers from the Broward County Juvenile Services Division who led the presentation. The JPS is a JDAI pilot program that serves youth who are on intake status only, but can remain in the community safely. In the spirit of true local collaboration, the JPS program demonstrates how to operationalize the core principles of JDAI to produce better outcome for children. Based on the feedback, the audience of local case managers, providers and courtroom personnel felt the information was helpful and the program compliments the current JDAI continuum of alternatives.

Pictured (L-R): Regenia Walker (County), Janice Charlassier (DJJ) and Shawn Eager (County)