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

Secretary's Message

February 14, 2017

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

Junior League State Public Affairs Meeting

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker at the Junior League of Florida’s State Public Affairs Committee meeting in Tallahassee. The meeting included attendees from various Junior Leagues throughout the state, and I was excited to speak with them about DJJ’s reform efforts, DJJ’s current initiatives and programs, anti-human trafficking efforts, and the agency’s goals and budget priorities. I also discussed ways that the Junior League and our Department could work together to help serve at-risk young people and those currently in the juvenile justice system.

The Junior League of Tallahassee’s SPAC committee, in coordination with the 24 other leagues throughout Florida, monitors legislation and advocates before the Florida Legislature on issues of importance to League members such as human trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence, juvenile justice, foster care, and education. 

Florida Children’s Council Public Policy Panel

Also on Tuesday, I was excited to take part in the Florida Children’s Council’s Public Policy Panel at the Capitol. Joining me on the panel were Executive Director for Florida’s Guardian Ad Litem Office Alan Abramowitz and Chief of Staff of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities Karen Hagan. The session provided an opportunity for state leaders to participate on a facilitated panel with their peers focusing on children, youth, and families. Secretary Daly discussed agency priorities this legislative session, successes in reforming Florida’s juvenile justice system, and issues facing Florida’s young people today.

The Florida Children’s Council’s mission is to promote policies that build effective primary prevention and early intervention systems of supports for Florida’s children and families by engaging and enhancing the collective strengths of the individual children’s services councils of Florida. 

Human Trafficking Update

Last week, Human Trafficking Director Bethany Gilot had the opportunity to host Andrea Sparks, Director of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Child Sex Trafficking Team along with members of her office, on site visits throughout Florida as they learned about and received an in-depth look into our continuum of care for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC).   It was an honor to host their team and to show them all of the great work that we are doing as a state and some of the wonderful service providers located in Florida.

The first two days were spent in Miami, where the Texas team had the opportunity to observe GRACE Court, a specialized unified court in Circuit 11 that serves CSEC youth identified through delinquency, dependency and family court. They also visited service providers and met with representatives from the Office of the Attorney General and Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.

While there, Andrea also visited our Circuit 11 Juvenile Assessment Center to learn our process for using the Human Trafficking Screening Tool.  Thank you to Latawun Bess and all of the DJJ staff in Circuit 11 who helped make this a success. 

The next three days of their visit were spent in Central Florida where they met with more service providers that serve CSEC. The team also met with DCF Leadership, Founder of the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force Tomas Lares and representatives from the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, a joint task force that investigates human trafficking cases.

We look forward to our continued partnership with Texas as they develop Governor Greg Abbott’s Sex Trafficking Team.

Probation Update

CPO David Cornuet and Reform Specialist Sam Lyons from Circuit 2 recently met with newly elected State Attorney for the 2nd Judicial Circuit Jack Campbell. The purpose of this visit was to promote a better collaboration between our agency and the State Attorney’s Office and to wish him well in his new role. Campbell is the son of former Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell and has over fifteen years’ experience as a prosecutor. The 2nd Judicial Circuit covers Leon, Wakulla, Franklin, Gadsden, Liberty and Jefferson counties. 

Pictured from left to right: Circuit 2 Probation Chief David Cornuet, State Attorney Jack Campbell and Circuit 2 Reform Specialist Sam Lyons.

Circuit 13 JPOS Vicki Vance delivered boxes of donated items for Chrissy’s Closet located at Gary Adult High School in Tampa. Chrissy’s Closet provides clothing and school supplies for the less fortunate and at-risk youth in the Tampa area. Chrissy’s Closet is a partnership between the Circuit 13 Probation office and the Hillsborough County Public Schools. The supplies that Vicki donated have already begun to impact countless students.


Probation staff in Circuit 17 participated in the 6th Annual 33311 Walk presented by Mount Bethel Human Services at Joseph C. Carter Park in Fort Lauderdale. Mount Bethel partnered with Broward AWARE! to host the 2-mile walk.

Broward AWARE! is a four-month long campaign that aims to support organizations who work to help prevent child abuse and heal those who have been victimized. The event focused on teen issues including human trafficking awareness, truancy, and fitness. The walk featured art exhibits, presentations and performance arts. DJJ’s long standing partnership with Mt. Bethel is a true testament to the successful and continual integration of the Roadmap of Excellence principles.

Pictured (left to right): JDAI Monitor Troy McGee, JPO Simone Harris, JPO Ninya Williams, JPOS Tina Robinson, SJPO Monica Ardila, and JPO Alfred Mendivil.

I’m pleased to share the following letter that was sent to JPOS Greg Brown in Circuit 1 and praised the efforts of JPO Judy Copeland. The letter was sent from the parent of a child who was in Judy’s care, and talked about how her swift action helped to lead this young man away from drugs and alcohol. 

Probation staff from Circuit 19 attended the Okeechobee County Health and Safety Expo where they provided community providers, local police agencies, and the general public with information about DJJ and our reform initiatives. The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office was on hand to provide community information and provided photo-ops for community members in police gear. Several DJJ stakeholders including the Children’s Home Society and Big Brothers Big Sisters were also on hand.

From left to right: LaSheri Baker (SJPO), Dorothy Malik (ACPO), Christopher Seagrist (RS), AnnMarie Campbell (JPOS), Felicia Fowler (JPO)

In addition, Circuit 19 Probation team members attended a Teen Dating Violence Symposium which featured many youth and community providers. The symposium also included a dance competition, praise dancing, and a talent show. Stakeholders spoke with our youth about how teens can be involved in healthy relationships. Following the symposium there was a walk to raise awareness for teen dating violence which included a raffle for the youth and community.

Dorothy Malik (ACPO), Felicia Fowler (JPO), LaSheri Baker (SJPO), and Carly Athanasatos (TASC)

Detention Update

Boys from the F-Mod at the St. Lucie RJDC have been diligently working on an art project over the last month. The youth have been painting around the mods and cafeteria area at the facility to make it a more kid-friendly and a more trauma informed environment. The softer feel of these paintings has been a welcome addition to the facility.  

Kudos go out to the Volusia RJDC team for a letter they recently received from a parent who had a son at the facility recently. The letter reads:

To all of the wonderful staff that cared or watched over T while he was here. He was so scared and some went the extra mile to help calm and comfort him when he didn’t think he could do it. I can’t thank you enough for that Miss Montgomery! You are very caring and patient with all of my questions. I’m sorry I can’t remember more names but one thing was for sure, EVERYONE that I saw or spoke to was AWESOME!! So thank you!

Thank you Volusia RJDC for going above and beyond for this youth! 

Juvenile Justice Officer Academy Graduation Ceremony

Congratulations to the newest detention officers (JDOs) at FPSI, Hillsborough Community College, Valencia College and Broward College who graduated February 10th. Thanks to Sheddrick Brooks, Detention North Region Chief, Kevin Housel, Detention South Region Director, Frank Gargett, Detention Central Region Director and Kevin Garcia, Defense Intelligence Agency US Central Command, for delivering the graduation addresses at the JDO graduations. Kudos to Learning Consultants Bernard Smith, Duane Pace, Denise Cannon, and Kiva Hagans for training the officers in these positions of critical responsibility. The graduates will work in the centers listed next to their names.

FPSI Graduates

1st Row (Left to right):  Troy Markham – Bay RJDC, William Johns – Bay RJDC, Tameka Edwards – Alachua RJDC, Christopher Adams – Duval RJDC, Zachery Stackhouse – Leon RJDC, Terry Mitchell – Leon RJDC

2nd Row:  De’Marcus Walker – Leon RJDC, Thomas Cox – Leon RJDC, Lawrenso Burrough – Bay RJDC, Enide Alphonso – Duval RJDC, Albert Jones – Escambia RJDC, Leronda Hawkins – Okaloosa RJDC, Akira Richburg – Alachua RJDC, Paul Phelan – Duval RJDC

3rd Row: Mickey Townsend – Marion RJDC, Willie Rodgers – Marion RJDC, Joshua Diaz – Marion RJDC, Tekedric Brown – Alachua RJDC, Vernon Wright – Alachua RJDC, William Kelly – Alachua RJDC, Antwan Randall – Duval RJDC, Christopher Hackney – Okaloosa RJDC, Robert Carr – Leon RJDC

4th Row: Laketia Hafeez – Okaloosa RJDC 

Hillsborough Community College Graduates

Seated Row (Left to right):  Michelle Youngblood - Hillsborough RJDC, Erikka Carnes - Hillsborough RJDC,

Danetra Jones - Manatee RJDC, Ramonita Cardoso - Manatee RJDC, Korinna Wade - Pasco RJDC

Standing Row:  Krea Harris - Pinellas RJDC, Danielle Hegler- Pinellas RJDC, Jamar Love - Hillsborough RJDC, Khalia Brantley - Manatee RJDC, Jonathan Moore - Pinellas RJDC, Adam Balderson - Hillsborough RJDC, Zachariah Hill - Manatee RJDC, Stephanie Sibley-  Manatee RJDC

Valencia College Graduates

Front Row (Left to right): Frizella Redmond – Orange RJDC, Amber Grigley – Orange RJDC, Mercedes Rosa – Orange RJDC, Felisia Paul – Orange RJDC, Virginia Davis – Brevard RJDC, Jaleesa Morman – Brevard RJDC

Back Row: Arrington Washington – Orange RJDC, Steven Detrie – Brevard RJDC, Darron Francis – Orange RJDC, Rodney Davis – Brevard RJDC, Brain Beers – Orange RJDC, James Myers – Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Richard Colon – Brevard RJDC, Peter Valmont – Orange RJDC

Broward College Graduates

1st Row (Left to right): J. Wimes – Broward RJDC, L. Rossin – Broward RJDC, I. Williams – Broward RJDC, J. Fisher – Broward RJDC, G. James – Miami-Dade RJDC, K. Meyers – Miami-Dade RJDC, D. Saint Georges – Broward RJDC

2nd Row: W. St. Fleur – Miami-Dade RJDC, C. Malcolm – St. Lucie RJDC, M. Curtis – Palm Beach RJDC, M. Sims – St. Lucie RJDC, A. Smith – Miami-Dade RJDC, D. Brown – Palm Beach RJDC, J. Powell – Broward RJDC, Learning Consultant Denise Cannon

3rd Row:  D. Joseph - Miami-Dade RJDC, H. Nicholson ­– St. Lucie RJDC, B. Andre – Palm Beach, A. Molitmer – Palm Beach RJDC, F. Norvil – Miami-Dade RJDC, C. Davis – Palm Beach RJDC, S. Blevins – St. Lucie RJDC

Prevention Update

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Lydia Breaux-Davis recently hosted a Bridging the G.A.A.P. conversation between youth and law enforcement at Pensacola High School. The conversation involved Escambia County youth and Pensacola police officers, Garland McKenzie and Mary Williams-Green. Robin Reshard, interviewer, writer and speaker with Robert Robino Productions, was the moderator. Youth who participated were in middle school and high school and not all had prior involvement with DJJ. The event was open to the public and parents were encouraged to attend. However, only the youth and officers participated in the 2-hour conversation.

In the above photo, (left to right): Alice Sims, Assistant Secretary Prevention & Victim Services; Lori Jamison, SJPO, Circuit 1; Onazina Washington, Delinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 2, 3, & 8; and Lydia Breaux-Davis, Delinquency Prevention Specialist for Circuits 1 & 14.

I would like to thank our large DJJ contingent who attended this event including: Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Victim Services Alice Sims, Delinquency Prevention Specialist Onazina Washington, JPOS Mary Grier and SJPOs Katrina Harper and Lori Jamison. In addition, a big thank you to our stakeholders in attendance: Jamie Cochran from Lutheran Services, Carl Reeves from the Pensacola Police Department and William Gulley from Milk and Honey Outreach. 

Faith Network Coordinator Craig Swain and Delinquency Prevention Specialist Onazina Washington attended the circuit advisory board meeting for Circuit 3 at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch in rural Suwannee County. Craig and Onazina met with Dennis Young during that meeting. Mr. Young serves as the faith representative on the Circuit 3 Advisory Board. The pair discussed DJJ roles and reform initiatives as well as the future development and growth of the Circuit 3 Faith Network. 

The PACE Center for Girls of Volusia and Flagler Counties hosted local physician Dr. Delicia Haynes to their facility in Ormond Beach on January 27 to share her own struggles of depression and to stress the importance of physical and mental awareness. Dr. Haynes serves as the CEO of the Family First Health Center and shared her message of holistic health with the young ladies at PACE during their Spirited Girls Class.

Spirited Girls is PACE’s life-skills curriculum which addresses a variety of topics from financial management to career education to physical and emotional well-being. Dr. Haynes spoke about her struggles with depression as a teen and her commitment to helping others achieve their own personal well-being.

Dr. Haynes shared how pleased she was that the girls were so attentive and engaging. “My story hits close to home with some people. We talked about self-treatment and the girls really responded.” PACE Student Mayonna said of visit, “I have depression and I know what she was telling us about. She had good ideas on how to keep the negative thoughts away. She talked about how important it is to have someone to talk to, or to talk to someone who can help you get to someone who can help.”

Lisa Davitt, Social Services Manager at PACE arranged the day-long program. 

Residential Update

Last week, DJJ Deputy Secretary Timothy “Tim” Niermann, Office of Residential Services (ORS) Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham, ORS North Regional Director Billy Starke, Jr., and ORS Programs & Policy Coordinator Meg Bates participated in the JJSIP meeting in Circuit 4 and, while they were in the area, took the opportunity to tour three of the residential commitment facilities closest to downtown Jacksonville:  Duval Academy and Saint John's Youth Academy—both of which are operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC—and Jacksonville Youth Academy, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC.  Many thanks to Billy Starke for organizing the tours and for providing transportation.

Shown left: The group that toured Duval Academy (left to right): Sequel Youth and Family Services Vice President & Chief Culture Officer Jack Rachko, ORS Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham, Sequel Regional Director C. Mike Smith, Duval Academy Facility Administrator Albert Chester, Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann, ORS North Regional Director Billy Starke, and (not shown) ORS Programs & Policy Coordinator Meg Bates who served as the photographer.

At the Saint John’s Youth Academy, the tour was led by select youth who not only showed the various areas of the facility, from the visitor’s lobby to the classrooms and dormitories, they also explained various programming aspects.  For example, the facility has an “independent living” dorm for youth who have earned the opportunity to be in that dorm and who are in transition, getting ready to go home.  The youth in this dorm have additional programming and activities that focus on skills to help them succeed when they transition home.  For example, every Wednesday is Dress for Success Day, which means that the boys wear the shirts and slacks—that they have learned to launder and iron—along with a tie as they go throughout their day of school activities.  After regular school hours, the boys in this dorm participate in special enrichment classes that include book club, drama club, photography, art, and a special mindfulness course known as “Shift Happens.” 

Shown above:  The group that toured Jacksonville Youth Academy included (L-R) Billy Stark, Tim Niermann, Jacksonville Youth Academy Facility Administrator Joseph Shuler, and Laura Moneyham.  They are standing in front of the secured entry into the facility grounds.

These special classes are provided by a group of volunteers from Compassionate St. Augustine who visit the program a minimum of four days a week.  One of the art activities the residents completed recently with the Compassionate St. Augustine volunteers was this visual depiction of the internal qualities one must have to break the chains of social injustices.

Shown below, left, are three of the residents who served as tour guides at Saint John’s Youth Academy.  Standing third from the left (in the red shirt) is Billy Starke. Shown below, right, is Billy Starke, Saint John’s Youth Academy Facility Administrator Orvando Freeman, Laura Moneyham, Tim Niermann, and Saint John’s Youth Academy Assistant Facility Administrator Winslow Wheeler.

Jacksonville Youth Academy (JYA), a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, teamed up with Duval County Public Schools to take 10 residents of the program to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.  Many JYA residents have never been to a zoo.  The students who attended the trip learned about several animals, fed the giraffes, and participated in hands-on educational activities.  

At the end of January, Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, held a graduation ceremony for two young men who completed high school while in the program.  All of the program residents, members of the church, families of the graduates, and the staff enjoyed the celebration. 

Shown below (left to right):  Jessica Dowdell, Albert Chester, Kenesha Muller, Dolores Williams, Pat Martin, Graduate LV, Ron Baker, Graduate LB, Jackie Bartletto, Vernell McDaniel, Herlena Washington, Karen Pray.

Last month, the residents of Columbus Juvenile Residential Facility (JRF), a non-secure program for males, serving ages 10 to 18, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, assisted in the “Trash Free Waters Day event, as part of the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful coastal cleanup events at the McKay Bay Nature Park.  The students took part in the ongoing cleanup of the McKay Bay Nature Park trail in Tampa. 

They pulled weeds and overgrown brush, and picked up trash along the trail.  One youth said, “I felt good contributing to my community and making it more beautiful.” 

For several years, Columbus JRF has been involved with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, which serves as the facility’s area sponsor, offering community service projects for the youth.

Recently, five students from Escambia Boys Base (EBB), a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by AMIkids, Inc., completed the Hotel and Hospitality Certification course.  Thanks to our partners at Florida High School High Tech, Innisfree Hotels, and the Holiday Inn Resort on Pensacola Beach.  The youth went through the six-week course that included instruction on how to properly clean and prepare a hotel room, to provide maintenance, to fix plumbing, and to interact with guests.  The boys participated in a graduation ceremony that was held at the Pensacola Beach Holiday Inn Resort and featured guest speakers included Holiday Inn General Manager Ron Wilson, High School High Tech Program Director Ron Rivera, and EBB Director of Operations William Freeman.

In addition, five students recently completed the two-day Oil and Lube Certification course.  This was a two-part training and the first part—consisting of book work and instruction from an ASE-certified mechanic—took place at the George Stone Technical Center.  Over the course of the next week, each student had the opportunity to put to the test what they learned in the classroom by working with one of EBB’s business partners, American Lube Fast of Pensacola.  The students each spent eight hours on site at the Michigan Boulevard location where the boys changed oil and checked tire pressures.

EBB students also have the opportunity to work thanks to community partners at Sonny’s BBQ, Super 8 Motel, and Pep Boys.  The EBB students who earn the opportunity to work are able to pay court costs and victim restitution, and they save money.  By taking the Life Skills Class, the students also learn how to manage a checking account and write checks.  Currently, there is an EBB youth working at the Super 8 Motel, three students have gone through the employee orientation at Sonny’s BBQ, and one youth recently was hired at Wendy’s.

Pet therapy has arrived at Walton Youth Development Center (YDC), a secure program for young men, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by Gulf Coast Youth Services.  Walton YDC entered into a partnership with Intermountain Therapy Animals to provide pet therapy for the boys in the program.  Many thanks go to ORS Contract Manager Laura Whitten who found and made the initial contact with Intermountain Therapy Animals, asking for their involvement with residential commitment programs.

The first visit at the end of January went very well and exceeded the expectations initially discussed between the program and Intermountain Therapy Animals.  They were scheduled for two hours but stayed for four hours!  Their second visit was on February 2.  It was again a great success.  Not only did the initial group of boys enjoy interacting with Ella and Jimmy, but word spread and several other residents have asked to participate in the animal therapy sessions.

There were four different youth who visited with Ella, the therapy dog, and her trainer, James “Jimmy” Taylor.  Two residents visited for about 90 minutes and then made room in the therapy room for two other young men. 

Jimmy began the program by introducing Ella to the young men who are in transition.  Walton YDC plans to expand this therapy opportunity to other residents as they become more familiar with Ella and Jimmy.  Ella and Jimmy are scheduled to visit with the residents every other Wednesday for two-hour sessions.  

Shown above: After getting to know him, Ella wants to play with one of the boys.

Shown right:  Ella and Jimmy talk with a few of the young men at Walton YDC.

The Residential Alternative for the Mentally Challened (RAM-C), a non-secure program for boys, ages nine to 18, which is operated by Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc., now fosters three puppies due to the recent partnership with The Pixel Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides rescue services for animals who are abused or unwanted.

The Pixel Fund attributes all its success to the efforts of its volunteers and foster care families and programs.  The youth at RAM-C are responsible for the care of the puppies, which includes feeding them, training them, and cleaning up after them.  

The residents are teaching the puppies basic commands such as sit and stay, as well as to come when they are called.  All of this is hard work for the puppies but they make themselves at home wherever they collapse after training.  In time, the boys of RAM-C will see how their hard work and dedication to the puppies and their care will help give the puppies a better future and a forever home.

Office of Staff Development and Training Update


The Blended Academy is a week-long certification training for both probation and detention officers that trainees will be able to attend while in the process of completing their Phase I requirements or as a refresher if having completed the academy in a number of years. The courses in this academy are based on topics common to both current academies.

The Blended Academy will be delivered in the regions and taught by SD&T learning consultants and probation and detention adjunct instructors. Rollout of the Blended Academy will be in the first quarter of 2017.