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Secretary's Message

August 8, 2016

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

Last week was a productive and busy time for DJJ staff, our providers, and our stakeholders, as we continued our work in bettering the lives of Florida’s children and families.  I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our agency staff, our colleagues, and the youth in our care.

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 Police Chief’s Association Summer Conference

Last weekend, I was honored to attend the Florida Police Chief Association’s (FPCA) 64th annual Summer Training Conference and Exposition in Bonita Springs. I had the opportunity to attend the opening session and speak at the District Association President’s Meeting. The police chiefs and I discussed the importance of the continuing partnership between DJJ and law enforcement organizations.

The FPCA is the third largest state police chief’s association in the United States. FPCA serves municipal police departments, airport police, college and university police, private business and security firms, as well as federal, state and county law enforcement agencies.

Charlotte County Civil Citation Stakeholder Meeting

On Monday, I participated in a civil citation stakeholders meeting in Charlotte County. I, along with other participants in the meeting, including Charlotte County Commission Chairman Bill Truex and Sheriff Bill Prummell, heard presentations on the status of civil citation in the county and updates from private sector service providers. The presentations were followed by an informal discussion regarding civil citation and potential ways to improve or expand it. The program is coordinated by Charlotte County Human Services and funded by DJJ.

I want to thank our stakeholders in Charlotte County for participating in this meeting and for working with our Department on the use of civil citation as an alternative-to-arrest for juveniles. I appreciate their partnership as we work towards reducing juvenile delinquency and increasing public safety.

Circuit 8 Site Visits and Class Presentation

On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann and Assistant Secretary for Detention Services Dixie Fosler were in Circuit 8 for a site visit of the Alachua Regional Juvenile Detention Center (ARJDC). During their visit, they met with staff to gain their input and suggestions and answered any questions. Overall, they had a great discussion with the team at the detention facility. I know Deputy Secretary Niermann and Assistant Secretary Fosler enjoyed their visit with both youth and staff. It is always a pleasure to talk with staff about the work they do with the Department and interact with the youth in our care.  

In addition to visiting ARJDC, Deputy Secretary Niermann and Assistant Secretary Fosler also visited with a criminal justice class at St. Leo University where they gave a presentation about the role of our agency as well as our reform efforts and legislative priorities. The students were engaged and appreciative of the information shared about The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, our services and the community  partners that join collaboratively to ensure youth have the best outcomes possible.

CJCA Summer Meeting

Over the weekend, I attended the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) Summer Business Meeting in Boston.  CJCA’s Summer Business Meeting is one of three national meetings convened annually as part of CJCA’s mission to promote and facilitate leadership development and the exchange of knowledge and philosophies at the top administrative levels of juvenile justice and juvenile corrections.  The Summer Business Meeting convenes leaders from each state and several large counties to share information, identify issues and strategies to address them, and form a national voice for youth corrections. 

This meeting also provides a forum for CJCA’s committees to meet, plan and present their work to the entire organization. Among the topics discussed this past weekend were reducing recidivism rates among youth in the juvenile justice system, creating positive youth outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).  During this meeting, our Chief Research and Data Integrity Officer Mark Greenwald made a presentation on “data-driven” reform to the CJCA Best Practices Committee.

CJCA is a national non-profit organization, formed in 1994 to improve local juvenile correctional services, programs, and practices to ensure youth success in the programs and when they return to the community. CJCA also provides national leadership and leadership development for the individuals responsible for these systems. CJCA represents the youth correctional CEOs in 50 states, Puerto Rico and major metropolitan counties.

Juvenile Justice Officer Academy Graduation Ceremony

Congratulations to the newest juvenile justice detention officers (JDO) and juvenile probation officers (JPO) who graduated at the Florida Public Safety Institute on August 5th.  Thanks to Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann for delivering the graduation address for the JDO and JPO graduations. Kudos to Senior Learning Consultant Duane Pace, Statewide Reviewer and Learning Consultant Barbara Campbell and Learning Consultant Christina Ash for training the officers in these positions of critical responsibility. The graduates will work in the regional juvenile detention centers (RJDC) and probation circuits listed next to their names.

Florida Public Safety Institute JPO Graduates

First Row (Left to right):  Gabrielle Green – Circuit 4, Tiffany Green – Circuit 20, Jenifer Hamilton – Circuit 9, Precious Watkins – Circuit 4

Second Row:  Ameera Martinez – Circuit 5, Orlando Mendonca – Circuit 2, Shantrale Bennett – Circuit 4, Valua Cooper – Circuit 9, Janyah Glenn – Circuit 2, Michele Brandon – Circuit 20, Iris Alicea-Garcia – Circuit 9

Third Row: Christine Nuzzi – Circuit 9, Jermaine Booker – Circuit 5, Susan Fuller – Circuit 5, Patrick Thompson – Circuit 19

Fourth Row:  Craig Anderson – Circuit 3, Alaina Carroll-Brazeau – Circuit 4, Darrell Torbett – Circuit 1, Aaron Lloyd – Circuit 10, Christopher Geraci – Circuit 20, Chamika Moultrie – Circuit 1, Jennifer Bannister – Circuit 14, Rebecca Mitchell – Circuit 4, Christina Calvert – Circuit 19, Christina Joseph – Circuit 5

Florida Public Safety Institute JDO Graduates

First Row (Left to right):  Anthony Cordovano – St. Lucie, Maria Moxey – St. Lucie, Diana Rader - Alachua, Grecia Marquez – Marion

Second Row:  Adarious Jenkins - Alachua, Chad Ervin - Collier, Jackie Kemper - Volusia, Shelton Seraphin - Alachua, Gerardo Fernandez - Okaloosa, Courtney Jones – Marion

Third Row: Dionte Kendrid - Duval, Gary Wilson - Okaloosa, Bill Kurts - Okaloosa, Christopher Edgecome -Alachua

The Reform Corner

Since the introduction and implementation of the Roadmap to System Excellence, DJJ’s strategic plan to transform Florida’s juvenile justice system, there have been so many truly amazing things occurring around the state, which benefit our youth and families.  We want to highlight efforts as they arise and showcase the hard work done by our dynamic staff across the state.  The Reform Corner will spotlight a circuit, the reform efforts underway, and recognize our hardworking staff that go above and beyond in service to our agency, kids, and our communities.

If you have exceptional Roadmap highlights you'd like to have considered for the Reform Corner, please send them to Elizabeth Phillips at Elizabeth.Phillips@djj.state.fl.us.

This week we celebrate Circuit 5 for successful completion of EPICS training. On July 13, 2016, Circuit 5 conducted their EPICS graduation where EVERY, SINGLE staff member graduated with the status of proficiency.

EPICS (Effective Practices in Community Supervision) is an evidenced-based service designed to deliver individualized interventions to moderate high/high risk youth. The EPICS rollout is an intensive six-month process where staff are trained in the various interventions and do taped audios to demonstrate their learned skills.

Congratulations to the entire staff in Circuit 5 for this amazing accomplishment! 

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! 

Education Update

Three students from the Washington County School Program at the Okeechobee Youth Development Center were honored during special graduation ceremonies on July 26 and August 1 at the facility. The students completed their Florida High School Equivalency Test (GED), and were an inspiration to both the students and staff in attendance. 

Students from the Okeechobee Youth Development Center (OYDC) have recently been given the opportunity to complete the necessary steps to obtain a Florida driver’s license. The youth are enrolled in Florida Virtual School (FLVS) driver education courses, which are presented in collaboration with the Washington County School Program (WCSP), G4S and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Students work with a Transition Specialist from the WCSP to complete the driver’s education course, while G4S works with the DHSMV to set up a visit to facilitate the students in getting their photo ID’s.  

Prevention Update

On July 21, the Circuit 2 Advisory Board held their quarterly meeting at DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee. Topics discussed at the Circuit 2 CAB meeting included legislative budget requests, the 2015-16 Annual Report, new statutory members who attended from the Liberty County Schools and Midway Police Department. Other topics included faith-based community projects, the upcoming Faith Symposium (November 2-3) and resources in Gadsden County for AMIkids.

Prevention staff in attendance included: Alice Sims, assistant secretary; Patrice Richardson, CAB coordinator; Eugene Morris, special projects administrator; and Aaron Mathews, contract liaison.

In the above photo (from left to right): Eric Trombley (Assistant State Attorney Juvenile Division Chief); Officer Ray Garcia (Tallahassee Police Department); Donnie Read (CAB Chair, Circuit 2); Deborah Shaw (CAB Secretary, Circuit 2); Prevention Assistant Secretary Alice Sims; and Ernie Sims (Faith Representative, Circuit 2 CAB).

Special Projects Administrator Eugene Morris spoke with youth attending summer enrichment camps on July 25 and 26 at the Sarasota Boys and Girls Clubs and the 13th Avenue Dream Center in Bradenton. At the Boys and Girls Club, Eugene addressed about 150 young people and encouraged them to practice reading and writing during the summer months, reminded them of the importance of studying, and to report any suspected cases of bullying to parents, teachers, counselors or other adult figures in their lives.

When speaking to the 50 youth at the 13th Avenue Dream Center, Eugene asked them to dream of what they wanted to be in life and to develop a plan to get there. He discussed the importance of hard work, dedication, and concentration to assist the youth to reach their goals.

The PACE Center for Girls of Jacksonville held their 2016 graduation ceremony on June 17 at the Swisher Theatre on the campus of Jacksonville University. State Representative Charles McBurney delivered the keynote address, and in addition, received the 2016 Believing in Girls Legislative Award. 

Probation Update

National Night Out

National Night Out, held annually on the first Tuesday of August, is community building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.

JPO Janet Maconi, JPO Nancy Masry, and JPOS GEOFF Peattie, probation staff in Circuit 16 (pictured left), participated with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Key West for National Night Out festivities.

Circuit 7 probation staff, JPO Kimberly Pinkney, JPOS Jeanna Hester, and JPO Darrion Ferguson (pictured right), participated in National Night Out activities with the Deland Police Department. Staff members worked with Sergeant Millan and Sergeant Hancock from the Deland Police Department and the event gave them a great opportunity for our staff to share our agency’s mission with the youth and adults in the Deland community.

Reform Specialist Vernolda Dilworth and Assistant Chief Amy Stiles (pictured below) participated in the Lakeland Police Department’s 33rd Annual National Night Out.

Vernolda’ s attendance was to support DJJ’s Family Engagement and Faith Network Initiatives, as she staffed an information booth which gave her the opportunity to interact with youth and families throughout the Lakeland community. She spoke to youth and parents regarding the juvenile justice system and how kids can avoid making contact with the Department, and also how to prevent themselves from becoming more involved into the system. It also gave Vernolda the opportunity to network and invite local churches to participate in the DJJ Faith Network Team.

Amy Stiles attended a neighborhood event in Lakeland which included visits from Lakeland City Commissioner Justin Troller, Captain Sammy Taylor with the Lakeland Police Department, various Lakeland Police Department officers, neighborhood watch members, and several community members. Through this event, Amy was able to provide the community with information on the Departments initiatives and mission to better improve the outcomes for the youth in the community.

I am pleased to announce that Circuit 19 JPOS George Connolly graduated with a master’s degree in adult education from Florida International University. This marks the second master’s degree that JPOS Connolly has obtained as he earned a Master of Science in criminal justice just two years ago. Both of these degrees were earned through the tuition waiver from the State of Florida. JPOS Connolly has also been accepted into the doctorate program at FIU and will pursue part time, a doctorate in criminal justice with a focus on juvenile delinquency, low self-control, and parental/family Influence.

Congratulations on your degree JPOS Connolly and on a job well done! 

The statewide Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) team, better known as the DJJ Dreamers met for a two-day training session July 25-27. The meeting was held to discuss the development of a greater alternative continuum and including conversations about the true purpose of detention, addressing racial and ethnic disparities and case processing procedures.

The JDAI team is focused on reforming our intake and screening practices to ensure the resource of detention is only used for the right youth for the most appropriate length of time. 

Pictured (left to right): C17 JDAI Coordinator, Andrea Webster; C6 Coordinator, Karin Popkowski; C6 JDAI Coordinator, Gina Gibbs; Statewide JDAI Coordinator, Minnie Bishop; C4 JDAI Coordinator, Vicki Burke; C15 JDAI Coordinator, Randi Taylor; and Probation HQ Staff, Marybel Cortez.

Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell from Circuit 6 challenged her fellow probation staff members to make a difference in the lives of hungry youth by participating in a food drive for local non-profit, The Kind Mouse. The Kind Mouse helps to assist families in transition and their chronically hungry children. Since its inception back in 2011, The Kind Mouse has served over 100 families with food and housewares, while providing over 36,00 meals to children who otherwise may be unsure of how they will eat outside of school hours.

On July 29, Founder and CEO of The Kind Mouse arrived at the Wildwood probation office in St. Petersburg to pick up ten boxes of donated food. I would like to thank all of the probation staff members and administration who participated.

I am pleased to congratulate Circuit 7 Civil Citation Liaison Cathy Egley who was named the circuit’s Employee of the Quarter. Cathy had diligently trained numerous police departments throughout the four counties that comprise Circuit 7 including Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam. Due to Cathy’s hard work, civil citations have been used with over 500 youth circuit wide. DJJ appreciates her high level of proficiency in handling the tasks assigned to her as well as her humble behavior with staff members and police departments.  

Pictured from left to right:  JPO Supervisor Jeanna Hester, Civil Citation Coordinator Cathy Egley and Chief David Kerr

I am happy to share the following letter that was sent to CPO David Kerr in Circuit 7 from Flagler Beach Police Chief Matthew Doughney. The letter acknowledged the role of SJPO Nadine Kelly in a recent joint operation on July 4. Nadine’s willingness to volunteer for this duty on a holiday and the exemplary service she provided is to be commended. 

Six probationary youth from Circuit 8 traveled to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences Extension Office (IFAS) on July 26 for three days of unique skill learning that is not taught in a traditional classroom. IFAS put together three, two hour sessions of intensive education regarding basic financial planning, the planning of weekly nutritious meals and how to shop smart and basic etiquette. Each youth was eager to learn these new skills and worked diligently on their tasks. Circuit 8 probation strives to provide their youth with skills that they could not obtain in a regular classrooms and hopes to work with more community partners like IFAS to help reach more of their youth. 

Also out of Circuit 8, the Probation team recently received good news and appreciation from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement of the successful prosecution and sentencing of a person charged with trafficking.  The correspondence read in part:

I would like to take a moment once again to thank you all for your dedication and work on these cases…Thanks again for all you do. 

I want to thank Circuit 8 Probation for the partnership with law enforcement and for their role in helping to eradicate trafficking and ensuring that trafficking victims receive justice.

Residential Update

On July 28, I held a meeting in Tallahassee with Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann, the leadership of the Office of Residential Services and 15 leadership representatives of the Department’s nine contracted residential providers, in addition to representation from the Florida Juvenile Justice Association (FJJA).  The providers represented at the meeting included AMIkids, Inc., Aspire Health Partners, Eckerd Kids, G4S Youth Services, LLC, Gulf Coast Treatment Center, Right of Passage, Inc., Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc., and Youth Opportunities Investments, Inc.

Joining me in facilitating discussion at the meeting were Assistant Secretary for Residential Services Laura Moneyham, Office of the Inspector General Background Screening Unit Myra Burks, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Statewide Coordinator Gene McMahon, Policy and Programs Coordinator for Residential Services Meg Bates, Director of Program Accountability Amy Johnson, Chief of Contract Development and Planning for Residential Services Penny Alsop, Director of Legislative Affairs Meredith Stanfield, and FJJA Executive Director Cathy Craig-Myers.

Areas of discussion included staff ratios in residential programs and PREA requirements, the length of time for completion of Inspector General reviews and investigations, the need for staff shadowing prior to Protective Action Response (PAR) certification, clarification of the roles of shared services and residential operations staff, updates about the Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM), pet therapy opportunities across the state, the Highway Safety ID Card Project, and an update about escape penalties.

The group agreed that it is imperative to have quarterly provider meetings and we have planned to meet again in the fall.

The residents at the Residential Alternative for the Mentally Challenged (RAM-C) Program, a non-secure program for boys, ages 9 to 18, which is operated by Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc., welcomed former Florida State University football players, who now play for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  They returned to Tallahassee to meet with fans during the Tallahassee Takeover Event.  The boys participated in various activities throughout the day and met some of the players.  Several students aspire to be athletes.  This event was a great opportunity for them to learn about how to be successful, how to stay motivated, and the importance of making good choices.  This trip was a reward for those who have been completing their goals at RAM-C and are working hard in school. 

Dade Juvenile Residential Facility and Dade Youth Academy, both non-secure programs for boys, ages 13 to 18, which are operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, volunteered with Farm Share in Homestead.  Farm Share’s mission is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition by recovering and distributing fresh and nutritious food to those who need it most.  The residents created an assembly line and quickly filled several large bins with bags of food items, which were then distributed to people in the community. 

Dade Juvenile Residential Facility and Dade Youth Academy recently welcomed the CareerSource South Florida Mobile Workforce to work with several boys and assist them in creating and updating their resumes, in conducting on-site interviews, and in providing a range of testing and assessment services to help the students become job-ready.  The mobile workforce is equipped with air-conditioning, is handicapped accessible, and has technological resources that include 13 communication/computer workstations with satellite Internet connection, an interactive SMART board for instructional purposes, and a state-of-the-art audio-visual system.  Special thanks goes to Dade Transition Specialist Carolyn Johnson for making this a great experience for the residents. 

The boys at Dade Juvenile Residential Facility and Dade Youth Academy also recently visited the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), a modern and contemporary art museum that is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting international art from the 20th and 21st centuries.  Special thanks go to lead volunteer Ms. Judy Vento for joining the students. 

Several students at Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Youth Services International, Inc., recently volunteered to clean up the yard of an elderly couple in Jacksonville.  The boys noted that they were eager to assist and saw it as an opportunity to give back to the community.

Four residents at Spring Lake Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 15 to 18, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, recently assisted Facility Administrator Gary Williams with landscaping the area around the flagpole.  They worked together in weeding, planting flowers, and applying mulch. 

Detention Update

DJJ is proud to fund programs across the state that are making a difference in the lives of our youth through Invest in Children grants.

Recently, the Pasco Regional Juvenile Detention Center started a program with the financial assistance of an Invest in Children’s grant. The Character GPS® Project Management Charter, which began August 1, serves to positively and significantly impact a child’s development by providing proven life & leadership skills, addresses behavioral problem areas, and works to cultivate good character, as well as benefit their long term academic and personal growth. 

Since the grant began last week, Pasco recently held a training class for six of the second shift officers at the facility. Youth at the facility have also participated in two classes and so far the input and responses have been positive.