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Secretary's Message

September 26, 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

Detention Update

Congratulations to Superintendent Darrell Johnson who has been named the Operations & Program Manager for the Office of Detention Services North Regional Office. Mr. Johnson’s career with DJJ began seventeen years ago at the Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC)  before moving in 2001 to the detention center in St. Johns County. He served twice as Assistant Superintendent at Duval RJDC and Alachua RJDC prior to being promoted to the Superintendent’s position at the Duval RJDC in 2013. Mr. Johnson is highly respected by staff at the centers, by his peers, and by regional office and headquarters’ staff.  He is knowledgeable in all areas of Detention Services and has performed these duties with a high level of aptitude, professionalism and integrity. 

The annual Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign (FSECC) is now officially underway and the FSECC’s online giving system is open!  

In recent years, the campaign administrators have taken several approaches to reduce the administrative costs needed to run the FSECC. The campaign’s administrative costs have been reduced by more than 50 percent through additional operational changes that improve the expense-to-donation ratio. 

As a part of the effort to lower campaign costs and to increase the amount of funds distributed to participating charities, this year’s campaign will focus on raising funds through payroll deductions only.

Please visit the Giving Nexus page to make your pledge today. For more information on how to use the online pledge tool, click here.

Pledging is easy and is open to all state employees. The online pledge system will close on November 6. You can also find charity information and much more by visiting the FSECC website at: www.fsecc.com.

Prevention Update

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Dionne Anderson attended a meeting of the Central Florida Urban League’s Youth Task Force on August 31 in Orlando. The Youth Task Force developed long-term prevention strategies for the Youth Crime Prevention/Intervention Program and the Black on Black Crime Prevention Program funded by the state of Florida’s Office of the Attorney General. Participants involved faith-based partners, recreation and parks programs, health providers, and law enforcement agencies. Each advocate brought expertise in either education, detention, law enforcement or municipal leadership. The goal of the Youth Task Force was to bring together resources to help youth achieve positive outcomes leading to opportunities to become healthy, productive members of society.

Faith Network Coordinator Craig Swain attended the Convening for State Agencies training on August 23 in Tallahassee. The training was designed to assist representatives from various state agencies in developing and recruiting volunteers. This training also addressed ways to make the impact of agency volunteers more effective. Volunteer Florida facilitated the workshop for state agency employees who wanted to mobilize citizens to serve as volunteers alongside staff, so that they could maximize the agency’s service to Floridians. The half-day training session highlighted the value of volunteers. Participants learned volunteer management best practices from volunteer managers and peers, exchanged ideas, and left with new ideas to inspire and enlist volunteers.

I am excited to congratulate youth Franchessca who was recently named Girl of the Month at the PACE Center for Girls of the Treasure Coast. Franchessca enrolled in PACE in March of last year and was under DJJ supervision for her behavior. She also had poor grades in school and already repeated a grade in middle school. Needless to say, she was resistant to the program.

With the help of PACE Treasure Coast, her grades and behavior in general have greatly improved. Franchessca’s PACE counselor has worked closely with her to reach goals that were set to improve her overall behavior, to increase her coping skills, and to help her learn how to manage stress. PACE's competency-based academic programming along with the support from her academic advisor have helped Franchessca to improve academically as well.  Her grades have increased to A's and B's; she is completing courses appropriately and her attendance for the year is 94%. 

Each month, the PACE Center for Girls of the Treasure Coast selects one girl to be the “Girl of the Month.” This young lady is nominated and voted on by staff and must meet certain criteria to be selected including, 80% or better attendance and only two excused absences during the month, one course completion or teacher recommendations and only one minor behavioral concern during the month. Winners are rewarded with an opportunity to go to lunch with her counselor at the restaurant of her choice or can opt to have a spa treatment at the Indian River State College School of Cosmetology.

Probation Update 

Congratulations to JPO Nancy Masry who was awarded her ten-year service pin during the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project’s roll-out meeting in Circuit 16 last week. DJJ is thankful for your years of service to the Department and the youth and families we serve. 

Pictured from left to right: South Region Director Terria Flakes; Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann; C16 CPO Karen Knight; JPO Nancy Masry; JPOS Geoff Peattie

We are pleased to welcome Christopher Seagrist who takes over as the new Reform Specialist in Circuit 19. Christopher has been with the Department for four years now beginning as a detention officer before moving to the Circuit 19 Probation Office as a JPO in the intake unit. He has enjoyed learning as much as he can about all aspects of our agency and helping out wherever he can. Christopher is excited to apply evidence-based practices in working with our youth and families as well as learning more about the EPICS curriculum. Christopher holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in criminal justice.

On Sunday nights while many of our kids are getting ready for school the next day, two youth from the Paxen Community Connections Program in Pinellas County are giving back to those in need. Both transitioning youth have been spending their time volunteering at the First Presbyterian Church of St. Petersburg preparing and serving hot meals to the homeless residents residing at the Beacon House. As you can see from these pictures, both young men jumped right to help serve and left feeling very proud for thinking of others. They both said they will be back next month to serve up another meal. This community outreach enforces one of Paxen’s key life skills they teach in their program, “Be grateful for what you have been given and look out for others in need.”

Youth from the Paxen Community Connections Program in Hillsborough County recently traveled to Lithia, for a unique opportunity at the Rugged Cross Animal Rescue Ranch. The youth listened to a motivational speaker and were able to meet the caring and loving employees at the Ranch who rescue horses and other animals. After a brief tour, each one of them had the pleasure of riding horses, cleaning stalls and tending to the animals in the barn. The love and compassion that the youth showed these animals were truly heart-warming.

JPO Rick Christie from Circuit 6 accompanied several probationary youth as they participated in a community restoration project for Metropolitan Ministries in West Pasco County on September 17. Rick and his youth completed landscaping tasks around the facility and removed debris that was left in the wake of Hurricane Hermine. Rick used the opportunity to open a broader level of dialogue with the youth as they worked side-by-side with him on the project. He patiently listened to their needs and concerns while teaching them how to transplant plants and make the landscape look better. Metropolitan Ministries provides many necessities to the homeless and are known for their compassion and innovation in helping struggling families achieve their highest potential for self-sufficiency.

JDAI Coordinators Gina Gibbs and Karin Popowski, Delinquency Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee and Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell from Circuit 6 hosted the first ever Juvenile Justice Citizens Academy Alumni Meeting on September 15 in St. Petersburg. The meeting was comprised of eight citizens who graduated from the Juvenile Justice Academy over the last two years and was focused on how they could be better involved with our youth. The graduates discussed topics such as community service, awareness building and organized community based workshops. These eight citizens are committed to using the knowledge they obtained from the academy for the improvement of the lives of youth in their community and left very energetic. 

JPOs Ashley Frazier, Alfred Mendivil and Candice Singleton from Circuit 17 participated in the 2016 Children’s Behavioral Health Resource Fair on September 15 at the Omni Auditorium at Broward College. The fair was hosted by the Broward County Behavioral Health Partnership & School Board Broward County Student Services Department. These probation officers represented DJJ along with over 80 vendors as they met with approximately 500 members of the community to answer their questions. All agencies and providers serving individuals and families with behavioral health needs were invited to participate. 

Residential Update 

During the anniversary week of 9/11, Palm Beach Youth Academy, a high-risk program for boys, ages 15 to 21, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, hosted a First Responder Appreciation Day Luncheon to honor the members of the Palm Beach County Fire Departments and Sheriff's Office.  The youth gave speeches, recited poems, and performed rap songs for those in attendance.

The honorees were presented with certificates of appreciation and posters drawn by the students.   The youth socialized with firefighters, paramedics, and sheriff's deputies over a special barbecue meal prepared by the program’s food services department.  

The Miami Youth Academy, a non-secure program for males, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, worked with the program’s teachers to provide lessons about the impact of 9/11.  The students participated in a pledge to make the world a more peaceful place.  Several youth made presentations on the timeline of events from 9/11, including discussions about the impacts of those events on our country.  

At Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, staff work with the youth to get state of Florida identification cards as part of their preparation to transition home.  This is an exciting event for the youth who are given the option of having their photos taken to commemorate the event.  When the youth go to the Tax Collector’s Office for their ID cards or to the Social Security Administration Office to get a duplicate social security card, they enjoy a special educational experience and lunch in the community.

Recently, Mr. Griggs and Ms. Dowdell from Duval took a few of the residents bowling.  They enjoyed a little friendly competition and were still talking about the fun they had when they returned to the facility.

2017 Prudential Productivity Awards

DJJ employees are among the most innovative and creative people in all of state government as they continue to seek more productive ways to perform their jobs more efficiently. I am excited to announce that the 2017 Prudential Productivity Awards, presented by Florida TaxWatch, provides an excellent opportunity to recognize the innovative ideas and resulting cost savings accomplished by enterprising DJJ employees.

Nominations are now open and forms for the 2017 Productivity Awards can be accessed at http://ppa.floridataxwatch.org/. Please take a few moments today to review the application and instructions and nominate a deserving DJJ employee or team of employees.

Last year, our agency received a total of three Prudential Productivity Awards across several different program areas. Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes, so don’t hesitate to look over the award criteria and decide what you or your team has done to make our agency run more efficiently. 

Nominations can be downloaded and completed off-line prior to submitting an on-line nomination. The site opens October 1 and will close on November 15, 2016. To ensure that all nominations are accurate and properly reviewed, DJJ will not approve nominations submitted after November 8, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.  No new nominations will be accepted after that time.

Nomination packets and questions regarding nominations should be directed to Patrick Fargason at Patrick.Fargason@djj.state.fl.us or 850-717-2712. 

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.