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Secretary's Message

October 10, 2016

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

In less than a month’s time, Florida was again this past week preparing for potential impacts of another hurricane; this time a major, potentially devastating storm that could have ravaged the entire east coast of Florida. While Hurricane Matthew did not make a direct hit, many along the coast are recovering from significant impacts this state has not seen in many years. My prayers and thoughts are with our staff, their neighbors and friends as they work to recover and rebuild following Hurricane Matthew.

This weekend, as the pace of storm preparedness slowed and moved towards storm recovery, I was reflecting on the immense task placed before many of our staff in preparing and responding to the impending storm; how staff worked collaboratively to ensure that our youth and staff were safe and well-taken care of, that our facilities were as prepared as possible for potential damage and that administrative supports were ready and on stand-by to ensure our program staff had the necessary tools they needed.

I am so proud of the tremendous job of all staff and commend each of you for your flexibility, the swift action in ensuring the safety of our youth and stepping up to the task even when it meant leaving behind your own homes and families in the face of uncertain circumstances.   

As I reminded everyone after Hurricane Hermine, hurricane season has not yet come to a close and we should remain vigilant and prepared should another emergency arise. I strongly encourage each of you to visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s Get a Plan website where you can create an emergency plan specific to your family. You can also visit the Division’s FloridaDisaster.org for up-to-date weather and post-storm information. This site is also a helpful resource for other Florida weather and non-weather related hazards.

It is also important that everyone has a designated emergency contact. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) launched its annual Emergency Contact Information (ECI) campaign in conjunction with the start of the 2016 Hurricane Season. The ECI system was developed first in Florida because there was no emergency contact program in place to quickly notify loved-ones in the event of an emergency. Please visit the DHSMV’s website here to learn more about ECI and to register your emergency contact information to allow law enforcement to quickly notify your family or friends in response to an emergency situation.

It is critical that we continue to work together to be informed and prepared so that we are able to respond swiftly should an emergency strike.  Thank you again to our team for all of your hard work in weathering this storm. 


Christina K. Daly

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. 

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.

Probation Update

Paxen Community Connections Manatee had a chilling reminder this week of the fatal consequences of riding in a car without a seat belt. The founders of B.U.B.B.A. (Buckle Up for Bswag and Bubba Association) met with the Paxen Manatee youth showing them pictures of that horrific Christmas night when the speaker's son went out with friends and never returned. The youth sat there politely and the impact was felt as the youth offered their condolences and a promise to be responsible and wear their seat belt. The parents of the two teens are determined to have their message heard and have kept the truck from the wreck as a reminder to others about the life saving importance of wearing a seat belt. The youth were appreciative of this real life reminder.

On September 10, in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Eckerd Kids Project Bridge, Home Builder’s Institute, The Mission Continues, Soldiers Freedom Outdoors and Guardian Angels partnered to have a weekend of service to support organizations that serve veterans and active military entitled Never Forget.

Nine youth from Eckerd Kids Project Bridge, staff, and volunteers participated in building a corral for horses, while the others built a dock over the lake in order to improve access for veterans and family members with mobility constraints. Youth that attended were also recognized in the 2nd Quarterly Super Star Event to highlight their success.

After the ceremony, outdoor activities occurred to include swimming, fishing, boating, card games, horse-back riding, an outdoor movie, and s’mores at the campfire. Many of the youth in attendance expressed interest in the military and this event provided the opportunity for close and personal conversations with our military men and women. Later that evening, a water lantern ceremony was held to commemorate those lives lost and affected by the events of 9/11.

The next day, the youth completed their second service project at Guardian Angels.  Guardian Angels trains medical service dogs, 90% of whom go to veterans to assist with PTSD symptoms. The youth built a chicken coop, shade structures, and doghouses to assist in the training of the service dogs.

Students of Eckerd Kids Project Bridge and HBI worked alongside these organizations and had the opportunity for practical application of the skills they’re learning while in the Project Bridge program, broadening their horizons, and learning the value of teamwork.

All in all, it was a phenomenal weekend! The youth had the time of their lives and we will forever remember that weekend. 

The Office of Probation and Community Intervention in Circuit 2 held their annual team building event on September 30 at Optimist Park in Tallahassee. All of the probation units in Circuit 2 got together for a day of learning and team fun. The work session covered policies and procedures which will enhance consistency and continuity throughout the circuit. After the work session, staff members showed their team spirit by putting on a well-organized and delicious cookout and participating in a kickball game.

Recently, Circuit 8 probation staff and the City of Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department collaborated together to create a program in a nature park where probationary youth can successfully complete community service hours as they work towards restitution while learning about nature and the environment. The result was Gainesville’s Duval Park, a secluded woodsy area with a duck pond that is situated next to a nearby community where many of our probationary youth live. DJJ and the Gainesville Parks and Recreation celebrated the beginning of their new community partnership during a reveal ceremony at Duval Park on September 29.

The Circuit 8 probation officers are partnering with Duval Park in an attempt to both rejuvenate the park and provide outdoor activities to the Duval community residents with the hope that our youth can enhance the park, spend time outside with mentors and maybe even become inspired to pursue environmental careers. The partnership works for both DJJ and Parks & Recreation, as we can accomplish getting Duval Park rejuvenated for the entire community to enjoy, as well as make a difference in the lives of those youth who are participating. 

I am pleased to share this story from Circuit 3 that shows great communication, team work, and generosity between our DJJ probation staff. JPO Buddy Dopler recently expressed concern for one of his clients. The young man was trying to find some sort of transportation which has become a roadblock in his ability to hold down a job. In stepped Secretary Specialist Jeanette Ryder. Jeanette spoke to JPO Dopler and mentioned that she had a bike that she was looking to donate and thought that it would be a perfect fit for his client. The young man is now able to get back and forth from his job which will help him become a more responsible and self-sufficient adult. 

The advisory team from the Central Region Probation Office met for their second meeting on September 29 at the training center in Tampa. Representatives from each circuit participated by bringing questions, thoughts and ideas to this unique forum and their participation was much appreciated. The meeting was productive as the team continued to discuss items that may not be handled in the circuit. The forum gives advisory team members the opportunity to connect with regional staff as they look for ideas and suggestions that will benefit the region. I would like to thank team members Kristen Richard and Lucille Rapale for their support and participation.

Front row: Kandy Avery (C18), Patricia Arroyo (C9), Arfinder Johnson (C13), Rickayle Zanders (C13), Nivea Malave (C6), Donna Phipps (C12), Dennis McKinney (C6), Norine Borrow (C6), Cathy Lake

Back row: Kistin Bentley (C18), Jean Hand (C9), Elizabeth Erwin (C9), Terry Evans (C12), Derrick Burkett (C18), Rachael Pierre-Louis (C10), Danielle McCarthy(C10). Team participants not able to attend: Deziree Fulcher (C12), Kathi Beckford (C10), Vicki Vance (C13), and Kristen Richardson (Regional). 

Prevention Update

The PACE Center for Girls of Alachua County received the proceeds from a new café and bakery in downtown Gainesville on September 20. Patticakes opened a scrumptious café/bakery in downtown Gainesville.  Among the many delectable treats on their menu, patrons had the option to purchase their specialty cupcake, Mocha Cappuccino Crunch – a portion of the proceeds were donated to PACE Alachua. Staff, board members, volunteers, interns, and supporters poured into Patticakes on the day of their grand opening to satisfy their philanthropic sweet tooth; so much so until the Mocha Cappuccino Crunch supply was completely depleted!  Staff was so grateful for all parties that partner in their mission to change the lives of “at-promise” girls in the Alachua area. 

The Patticakes grand opening was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Gainesville and Alachua County dignitaries. Those attending were able to sample coffees and breakfast goodies. For more information on their grand opening, please read the following article from Gainesville Downtown.

Faith Network Coordinator Craig Swain, Delinquency Prevention Specialist Marie Boswell and Circuit 17 JPOS Winsome Battiste hosted a Faith Network Training on September 22 at the African American Library in Fort Lauderdale. During the training, three faith partners were recognized for providing outstanding services to youth and families. Those honored were: Basil Phillips, of Global Village; Gary Brown, Youth for Christ Fort Lauderdale; and Elizabeth Vimonsot, Youth for Christ, Miami.

Detention Update 

The Office of Detention Services recently held a focus group for representatives of each detention center in the South Region. This focus group was the third of its kind where representatives were tasked to discuss their facilities advisory boards and the make-up of them. The group met at the St. Lucie RJDC, and after the meeting, representatives enjoyed a tour of the facility.

In the photo from left to right: Mcclure, Dennis(HQ), Chris Tipton (saint Lucie), Olivia Reese (west palm beach), Gerzel Hankerson (Broward), Barbara Wilson (saint Lucie), Joseph Jimmy (West palm beach), Kathleen Ward (Collier), Gabriella Delgado (Miami-Dade), Juan Huggins (south west), Kimberly Soto (south west), Raemar Daley (Broward), Paul Britten (HQ), Adrian Mathena (HQ) 

Office of Health Services Update 

The Office of Health Services is continually seeking ways to enhance services while focusing on cost effective systems, and the group recently met to try and standardize their tools and processes. Chief Medical Director Dr. Kirk Mauro and Health Services Administrator Chuck Corley attended the meeting to discuss pilot programs and system improvements that have been implemented in our detention centers for enhancement of safety, cost effectiveness, and efficiency of the medical services provided. These include development of use of protocols for stock Epi-pens, use of spacers for stock inhalers, a 14-day supply of medications and the coordination of efficient and effective procurement and stock of over-the-counter medications for detention services.

From left to right Jennifer Edberg-Vann RN, South Region Registered Nurse Consultant; Christine Gurk BSN, RN,CCHP, CCN/M Nursing Services Director, Ronda Corr RN, Central Region Nurse Consultant & Heather Mercer RN, North Region Nurse Consultant. Not photo’d but also attended Dr. Kirk Mauro Medical Director, Chuck Corley Health Services Administrator. Attending via conference call also included Joyce Rolle Registered Nurse Consultant.

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.