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Secretary's Message

August 22, 2016

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

As the summer begins to wind down and we approach the end of August, now is the time when  parents, children, and teachers busily prepare for the start of the new school year. The beginning of the school year approaches for many students and has even begun for some around our state. The start of the school year signifies new beginnings for our students and new opportunities to learn and grow. Research indicates that having problems in school is considered a major risk factor for criminal offending, and it’s with that in mind that I encourage all of you ensure that our children are prepared so that they may reach their full potential. Education is a key factor in keeping kids out of the juvenile justice system and being prepared is critical to their academic success. I wish all of our students the best of luck and abundant success during this upcoming year.

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

DJJ Employee of the Month

It is my great pleasure to recognize Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor (JPOS) Yvette Isaac as our DJJ Statewide Employee of the Month!

JPOS Isaac serves in Circuit 8 and is responsible for both the screening unit and supervision unit. JPOS Isaac provides steadfast and consistent leadership to the circuit and is known by her staff and supervisors alike as a faithful and dedicated employee. She is even handed and patient in dealing with the youth in her care, not only serving as a positive role model for them but for her colleagues. She is always respectful, responsive to questions or concerns, training-oriented, and reliable.  We would like to thank JPOS Isaac for her valuable service and for the commitment she has to our agency, youth, and families. Congratulations to JPOS Isaac on this well-deserved recognition!

We look forward to highlighting our next Employee of the Month in the near future. Our agency and I would like to remind everyone to please keep sending your nominations for the monthly DJJ Employee of the Month Award. You can do so by clicking here.

Youth In Custody Practice Model Initiative Meeting

This week, I along with Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann, members of our Executive Leadership Team, Residential Services staff, and residential program staff attended Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM) leadership and implementation meetings in West Palm Beach. On Monday, the team conducted a facility tour of the Palm Beach Youth Academy which is run by Sequel TSI, followed by meetings over the remaining two days regarding facility services, support, and discussions on identified gaps in services.

Chosen as one of only four agencies to participate in the YICPM, this initiative will help DJJ continue our efforts in providing the very best treatment and services for at-risk and delinquent youth. With support and guidance from the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and the Council of Juvenile Justice Correctional Administrators, DJJ staff and contracted provider staff will receive extensive training and technical assistance focusing on case planning, facility-based services, transition/re-entry, and community-based services. 

DJJ Teacher of the Year Recognition Ceremony

On Wednesday, we honored Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year Linda Baker during a ceremony at the Okeechobee Youth Development Center (OYDC). In attendance were Washington County School District Superintendent Joseph Taylor, Principal Jan Johnson, DJJ Director of Education Julie Orange, OYDC staff, students, and of course our Teacher of the Year Linda Baker and her family.

Ms. Baker is a reading teacher at OYDC, where she teaches an innovative reading class that incorporates technology into the curriculum, fostering a love of reading in her students while also preparing them for success in the high-tech world. Ms. Baker is truly an outstanding educator who helps her students reach their full academic potential and works hard to ensure they have a successful transition back into the community.  I would like to thank Ms. Baker again for making such a tremendous difference in the lives of these young people! 

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! 

Prevention Update

Federal Programs Liaison Diamond Ragin and State Advisory Group (SAG) member Shadai Simmons attended the 2016 Juvenile Justice Youth Summit on August 2-3 in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the theme of the summit was: Agents of Change: Rethinking, Reshaping, and Reforming the Juvenile Justice System. The summit allowed next generation leaders to gain a better understanding of the current juvenile justice system, examine trending reform topics, and participate in various skill-building, hands-on activities. Diamond and Shadai were among 30 DJJ staff and youth delegates in attendance.

During the summit, Diamond and Shadai were also recognized as new members of The CJJ Emerging Leaders Committee. The Committee ensures that CJJ members are told of the needs of youth in the juvenile justice system, and that the SAGs utilize youth members in their states to develop the state’s juvenile justice plan. The committee engages youth and advises CJJ on youth issues, striving to keep juveniles' needs, as well as system and program improvements, constant priorities at the state and national level. The Youth Committee is also responsible for promoting and implementing the annual CJJ Spirit of Youth Award.

DJJ Prevention staff member, Diamond Ragin (2nd from left in blue dress), Shadai Simmons, SAG member (standing at rear and wearing eye glasses) and other attendees at the CJJ Youth Summit.

Recently, Faith Network Coordinator Craig Swain joined Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and others at a prayer vigil at the First Presbyterian Church of Tallahassee. In response to a rash of fatal shootings that have taken place across the country in recent months, Tallahassee Mayor Gillum, and other leaders from Leon County, City of Tallahassee, the faith community, and law enforcement joined hands to pray for the nation and to discuss ways the local community can regain trust in one each other to live in peace and harmony.

In the above photo:  Craig Swain, his wife, Star Swain, their children, Craig Swain Jr. and Ayden Swain, R. Jai Gillum, and her husband, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Staff members from the Office of Prevention and Victim Services held a training retreat August 10-12 in Tampa. The training was entitled, “Elevating Prevention Services to the Next Level,” and its theme was “Teamwork: You’re an Essential Piece.” The first day of training was led by Kiva K. Hagans, Learning Consultant from the DJJ Office of Staff Development and Training. Kiva stressed the importance of identifying the strengths of team members and discussed the need for successful team members to be visionary, supportive, dependable, candid and creative. She also encouraged participants to identify small steps they could take to elevate their performance.

During the evening, Prevention staff joined about 200 people at the Amalie Arena at “The Beach Tampa.” The ‘beach’ was actually an interactive art installation, comprised of 1.2 million polyurethane white balls that created the sensation of swimming or floating on water. The exhibit was set up in a space the size of the ice rink the Tampa Bay Lightning play in. It took nine tractor-trailer trucks full of the antimicrobial balls to fill the stark white “beach” setting.

The second day included presentations on Human Trafficking by Bethany Gilot, DJJ Human Trafficking Director; and Robbin Sotelo Redd, Executive Director of Cops n’Kids Youth Center, (a DJJ Prevention provider) from Tarpon Springs. Team members each described their job functions before all participants attended a G.A.A.P. (Gaining Appreciation by Adjusting Perspectives) Discussion in St. Petersburg. Pictured at right: Alice Sims (left) thanks Bethany Gilot for her presentation at the Training Retreat.

The final day included a presentation on Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) by Tekoa Pouerie, Chair of the Circuit 9 Advisory Board DMC Sub-Committee. Staff also received awards of recognition from Alice Sims, Assistant Secretary Prevention & Victim Services. In addition, Diamond Ragin, Federal Programs Liaison, was selected as the Prevention Employee of the Quarter for her outstanding service. 

Probation Update

Circuit 13 Reform Specialist Michelle Galloway participated in the Fort White Back to School Bash at the Fort White Community Center on August 11. The event featured over twenty sponsors including DJJ. During the bash, Michelle was given free book bags and school supplies that will be distributed to the probationary youth in her care. In addition, she distributed brochures from our agency about the DJJ Roadmap. Over 300 youths and families attended this free event featuring:  school supplies, backpacks, games, resources and family fun!

Twelve DJJ youth in Circuit 19 were issued a no-cost Florida identification card on August 12 during the circuit’s 4th Annual Back to School Bash. The cards were issued on the Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) program bus facilitated by recent legislation signed earlier this summer by Governor Scott.

These identification cards are a key document for youth transitioning to normal and successful adult life and can help youth seek employment; open a bank account; prepare for college; and apply for financial assistance. In order to obtain an identification card, youth were required to provide certain required documents, including specific forms of proof for identification; social security number; and residential address.

Pictured right: SRD Terria Flakes, FLOW staff, Youth CPO Wydee'a Wilson and FLOW staff

Many thanks to Circuit 16 DIO Nanette Acosta who provided JJIS provider training for our stakeholders at A Positive Step of Monroe, Inc. back in late July. In addition, Nanette also provided Evidenced-Based Services (EBS) training for those DJJ staff members on site. Thank you Nanette for taking great care of the providers and staff members in Circuit 16! 

Pictured  left to right: Becki Burns, Administrative Assistant for APS; Billy Davis Executive Director of APS; Liv Sorli FFT Therapist of APS; and in the center is DIO Nannette Acosta DJJ.

Leasing and purchasing staff from Headquarters made site visits to several of our facilities in Circuit 16 last week. They visited both probation offices in Islamorada and Key West as well as the Monroe RJDC on Stock Island.

Pictured from left to right are: Hailee Clark of Leasing, Carol Walters of Purchasing, C16 CPO Karen Knight, and Michelle Cook of Leasing.

JPO Janyah Glenn and other probation team members from Circuit 2 attended the “Charting the Future, the Hustle and Grind,” event at the Palmer Munroe Teen Center in Tallahassee on August 13. The event was an opportunity for youth to gain academic, social, and career resources and complete a physical and mental obstacle course inspired by the U.S. Marines.

I would like to thank the following stakeholders who were also in attendance: Disc Village, PACE Center for Girl's, MADD of the Big Bend, representatives from the Palmer Munroe Teen Center, CCYS, The Southern Scholarship Foundation, the US Marines, US Navy and the Tallahassee Police Department.

I am pleased to share this story of two probationary youth in Circuit 14 who recently graduated from high school. Youth T completed all of her credits and enrolled herself in the Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Haney Technical School with the dream of becoming a nurse. Youth L passed all of her high school classes but struggled with the FCAT and ACT. She struggled with those exams for two years but never gave up and finally earned her high school diploma. Youth L is currently working at Trane Air Conditioning with plans to join the United States Army. Both of these young women used a combination of regular classes and the credit recovery lab to complete their education. They were still required to pass their end of course exams just like any other graduate.

On behalf of our entire agency, I would like to congratulate both of these young ladies for never giving up on their education and wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors.

Steve Moss, Bay District School Board member, our Director of Education Mr. Jackson and School Superintendent Bill Husfelt III present Youth L with her High School Diploma at the School Board Meeting.

On August 5, two Career Success Program students from the AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute were selected to attend the Bay County Chamber of Commerce meeting to hear United States Senator Marco Rubio speak on the benefits of vocational education in Florida. After his oration, students participated in a meet and greet to discuss their role in the AMIkids-Panama City Career Success Program. Career Coordinator, Kyle Merritt expressed to Senator Rubio the positive impact that vocational education has established in our community, and how corporately AMIkids is leading the way in helping troubled youth turn their lives around through vocational education.  Kyle informed Senator Rubio; “Our Vocational Education Program includes technical, vocational and employability skills training, nationally accredited certifications, mentoring, employment, as well as secondary education opportunities.”   Senator Rubio commended AMIkids on our proactive and progressive approach to helping at-risk students. 

Circuit 12 JPOS Terry Evans joined FWC Officer Ron Howard to make a presentation at the Compass Drug Treatment Center in Charlotte County. Terry spoke in regards to what happens when a youth is arrested and placed into custody and explained the levels of the juvenile justice system including civil citation, probation, and commitment. The youth at Compass were cautioned about the dangers of drug use and non-compliance with court ordered sanctions. The youth were very focused and asked many questions and at the end of the presentation had a much better understanding of the work of our Department.

The Compass Center is a treatment program for adolescents, ages 13 to 17 who have a drug or alcohol addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. The facility treatment approach is based on the evidence-based residential therapeutic community model which emphasizes personal responsibility, truth and honesty, work ethic, learning, personal accountability, self-reliance, responsible concern for peers, family responsibility, community involvement, and good citizenry.

Congratulations to Circuit 13 JPO Charnisha Palmore who recently graduated and earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of South Florida’s College of Behavioral and Community Science.

JPO Palmore is an honorable member of the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences, the National Social Work Honor Society, and the Phi Alpha Delta Sigma Chapter at USF. She earned her MSW through the tuition waiver program for state of Florida employees.

On behalf of DJJ, I would like to congratulate Charnisha for obtaining her post-graduate degree and wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors. 

The Milton probation office in Circuit 1 is proud to announce the successful completion of their “Check in at the Beach,” program at Navarre Beach. Over the summer, the program was created to assist probationary youth in Santa Rosa check in with their JPO, which saved them a long drive to the Milton office. The program included a community service element which allowed these youths to complete their valuable community service hours at the beach by picking up litter and debris. Circuit 1 would like to thank Terry Wallace, utilities supervisor, and Lynn Berry, office assistant, of the Water and Sewer Department of Navarre Beach, for their assistance with initiating this program and helping to make it a success.

Upper Deck:  Devontry Armstrong University of West Florida Intern, JPO Cameron Rogers Lower Deck:  JPO Andrew O’Brien, JPO Chad Lancaster

A youth receiving transition services from Twin Oaks’ Project Connect program in Circuit 4 recently submitted an application and the following letter to the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation:   

Committee Members:

The reason I would like to have this grant money is because, I have just recently got out of a program and trying to get back on my feet. I have graduated at the age of 16.  Since I been out, I’ve accomplished a lot and I am looking forward to accomplishing more and starting on my goals for the future.

Since I’ve turned 17 I have been interested in entering the medical field as a paramedic and with the grant money that would be used to pay for the tuition, schooling, and test fees. During the week I work, installing floors and I average $200 a week and it wouldn’t be possible for me to take care of all that alone I just want a chance to accomplish another milestone in my life.

I was on the wrong path, ever since I got released from my program I have turned my life around and made my future my main focus. With this grant money it would be a big help because I will work to the best of my ability and stay focused throughout it all.

The next registration day is July 11th the program lasts from 3-5 weeks and it is 12 hours a day 7days a week, with me being 17 and graduated a whole year early will be perfect for me because during the school year I will have a lot of free time and I have to begin somewhere. 



The youth’s transition specialist, Shacara Mitchell, was happy to report that this youth received a $1,000 grant from FJJF for his training and is excited to get started on a new career.  His parents are very proud of the initiative and determination to succeed he has demonstrated since returning home as demonstrated by their smiles in the enclosed pictures.  We wish him much success!   

Juvenile Justice Officer Academy Graduation Ceremony

Congratulations to the newest juvenile justice probation officers (JPO) who graduated from the Florida Public Safety Institute on August 19th.  Thanks to Paul Hatcher, Assistant Secretary of Probation and Community Intervention, for delivering the graduation address for the JPO graduation. Kudos to Senior Learning Consultant Duane Pace, Statewide Reviewer and Learning Consultant Barbara Campbell, Learning Consultant Christina Ash, Senior Learning Specialist Artavia Parrish and adjunct instructor Minnie Bishop for training the officers in these positions of critical responsibility. The graduates will work in the probation circuits listed next to their names.

First Row (Left to right):  John Scotti – Circuit 7, Joseph Smith – Circuit 13, Matthew Masters – Circuit 1, Dominic Scurry – Circuit 13, Nathaniel Sims – Circuit 2, Shakelah McShane – Circuit 1

Second Row:  Amanda Chin – Circuit 13, Tearra Berry – Circuit 9, Shannon Ashley – Circuit 2, Samara Ballard – Circuit 6, Nicole Montalbano – Circuit 13, Tracy Fennel – Circuit 7, Darius Brantley – Circuit 13, Crystal Williams – Circuit 2, Kimberlee Taggart – Circuit 8

Third Row: Celia Kalis – Circuit 13, Evelyne Dantes – Circuit 9, Brenda Baldwin – Circuit 1, Leslie Smith -Circuit 7, Alaina Richardson – Circuit 12, Jazmine Carter – Circuit 7

Fourth Row: Karen Medina – Circuit 12, John Haggerty – Circuit 2, Yulise Jones-Galloway – Circuit 9, Deadre Jones – Circuit 13

Detention Update

The youth and staff from the Pasco RJDC are starting up an aquaponics garden at their facility that will not only teach our youth how to cultivate and nurture the garden, but to provide fresh vegetables that will be used in meals at the facility. The garden is being put together with the guidance and help of resident Chaplain Dennis Buchanan, Mental Health Authority Jeff Smialek and Grief Group Leader Todd Patterson.

The last few weeks have been busy for the residents and staff at the Okaloosa RJDC. On August 8, the facility welcomed national recording artist “Mynista,” for a special presentation full of inspiring testimony and uplifting ministry. Mynista’s appearance was sponsored by the Living Faith Church of Niceville. 

On August 11, Okaloosa hosted a focus group for detention staff in the North Region. Representatives from each North Region center sat down for an afternoon of brainstorming, shared ideas and concerns from all over the region creating a more unified front where we can fulfill the departments mission with everyone in mind. These representatives also toured the facility and noticed all the efforts and hard work the staff have put in to embrace the trauma-informed care environment. 

In addition, Okaloosa congratulates three detention officer graduates who completed their training on August 5 at the Florida Public Safety Institute. Team Okaloosa had the class president, JJDOII Gary Wilson as well as two of the top scores on the PAR exam from JJDOII’s Bill Kurts and Gerado Fernandez. Okaloosa is lucky to have these newest officers on their team. 

From left to right:  Kurts, Fernandez, Assistant Secretary Fosler, Ariel Veguilla and class President Gary Wilson at FPSI.

The Manatee RJDC held a birthday celebration for two of their youth who celebrated a birthday during the month of August. The two youth can be seen here with Sargent Betty Jones

Residential Update 

Palm Beach Youth Academy (PBYA), a high-risk program for boys, ages 15 to 21, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, recently celebrated National Coloring Book Day by assembling and distributing 100 coloring books and packs of crayons to the Arc of Palm Beach County and BRIDGES, a program of the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.  The Arc of Palm Beach County provides services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and BRIDGES provides support and resources to parents and families facing various challenges.  Members of the PBYA Youth Advisory Board selected the pictures and worked with the residents to assemble the books. 

PBYA also recently hosted its 7-on- 7 intramural football league in a double-elimination playoff format.  Five teams representing each dorm competed to play in the Super Bowl.  The Bravo Dorm team was victorious in the end, winning the first place trophy!  Following the playoffs, select students from each team played in an all-star game and had the chance to showcase their talents.  Referees and coaches for the event included former NFL Linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and Super Bowl Champion Tyrus McCloud, former NFL superstar Jessie Hester, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Bussey, and Deputy Mooreland.    The playoffs concluded a very successful season for the residents.  Several former and current football players came out to the program throughout the season to spend time with the students, teach them specific skills relating to football, and more importantly, to mentor them to become even more successful young men.  As the football season closes, the residents are beginning to train and prepare for the upcoming track and field season.

Last week, PBYA welcomed Motivational Speaker, Radio Talk Show Host, and Published Author Hydn Rousseau to the program.  He shared his own troubled childhood with the residents and how he was able to eventually overcome his past.  While sharing his story of redemption, he emphasized the benefits of owning a business, having a positive attitude, and taking advantage of the resources offered at the program.  The residents were receptive to Mr. Rousseau’s message and were inspired to invest in themselves and to never give up hope.

Shown left (left to right): Peggy Laguerre, Regional Career Services Coordinator for Home Builders Institute Robert Matheny, and Hydn Rousseau with some of the residents.

Students from Orange Youth Academy, Hastings Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment Program, and Jacksonville Youth Academy, all non-secure programs for boys ages 14 to 18, 13 to 19, and 14 to 18, respectively, which are all operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, met in Jacksonville recently for a track meet.  The boys participated in several events, including sprints and long distance races.  After the event, they all shared a meal together, which was provided by the Jacksonville Youth Academy team.

Shown left (left to right): Recreational Therapist at Orange Youth Academy Tavarius Roberson and Facility Administrator at Jacksonville Youth Academy Joseph Shuler with some residents from Orange Youth Academy.