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Secretary's Message

October 2, 2017

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our DJJ staff, providers, and stakeholders for your continued support and hard work in service to our agency, especially as we return to a sense of normalcy after a tumultuous few weeks dealing with hurricane clean up and recovery. As we welcome the beginning of autumn, soon we will say goodbye to hurricane season in a few short months and, if we are lucky, hello to slightly cooler temperatures. The transition from summer into fall not only represents a change of seasons but the opportunity to start fresh and move forward. I hope that each of you will join me in moving forward into the new season.

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

Staff Announcement and Kudos

I’m pleased to announce that Shelly-Ann Wilson has been named the new juvenile probation officer supervisor (JPOS) for the Central Fort Myers Office Unit 302 in Circuit 20. Ms. Wilson began her career with DJJ seven years ago as a juvenile probation officer at the juvenile assessment center, and was promoted to senior juvenile probation officer last May. She recently completed the Instructor Technique Workshop (ITW) training and is currently providing training to all Circuit 20 probation staff annually, specific to the DRAI curriculum. Congratulations on this well-deserved promotion! 

Congratulations to JPOS Tracie Foss who received Employee of the Quarter honors for the Circuit 20 probation team. Tracie has been an exemplary employee and reflects great ethics and loyalty to her position. She is always willing to assist when asked, and her work is always completed with great efficiency and professionalism. Back in February and due to the absence of another supervisor in unit 201, Tracie voluntarily assisted the unit and management team in responding to daily issues, scheduling issues at the screening unit, intake case management reviews, travel approvals and any other generated reports requiring approval. She took time and effort to dually-serve two units while the management team was in search of a supervisor for the said unit. Tracie is a great part of our team and without her hard work and dedication, this circuit would not operate as functionally and smoothly as it does.

DJJ Staff Help Emergency Relief Efforts in the US Virgin Islands

DJJ team members from the Office of Staff Development & Training along with staff from the Bureau of General Services and Purchasing & Leasing came together to help support a fellow DJJ employee who has family currently living in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. The destruction caused by Hurricane Maria has devastated the small island community and the team wanted to support the current relief efforts and in donating and gathering supplies.

Between the efforts made by the employees at DJJ and what was also contributed from the local community, an estimated $3,000 worth of supplies has made its way to St. Croix. I want to thank the DJJ staff who helped contribute to the recovery efforts and for their willingness to step up and help out a fellow team member during their time of need. 

Probation Youth in Panama City Test Water Quality With State Representative

DJJ youth from the AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute (PCMI) joined state Representative Jay Trumbull to take samples of the water quality in the bay surrounding the city. For over twenty years, PCMI has collaborated with the University of Florida Resource Management Association to collect monthly water samples that are used for long-term study. Representative Trumbull was impressed with the group from PCMI and thanked them for their continued efforts to monitor the water quality around Panama City. Local television station WMBB was on hand for the testing and their story can be found here

Circuit 20 Assistant Chief Probation Officer Lut Clarcq held a basic training course for all juvenile probation officer supervisors on September 27. All the supervisors were provided training and in-depth information to the following areas of responsibilities: policies, memo and procedural review, policy changes reviews, unit operating procedures reviews, Florida Administrative Code and Quality Improvement Standards, case management reviews, establishing and maintaining performance expectations, coaching and delegating tasks, attending meetings, trainings and staff training, maintaining relationship with stakeholders.

The training also included a new critical alerts refresher training led by Data Integrity Officer Supervisor Jeff Clarcq. The goal of the juvenile probation officer (JPO) basic training is to provide information on the supervisory roles and responsibilities as well the importance of time management.

Pictured above (from left to right): Matthew Hudson, Betsy Santiago, Tracie Foss, Lut Clarcq, Melanie Ross-Martinez, Sandra Burgado, Shelly-Ann Wilson, Dan Murphy, Kevin Wheeler and Peter Knowler.  

State Representative Ramon Alexander recently made a visit to the AMIkids Tallahassee to offer words of encouragement to the students. Representative Alexander’s visit began with a student-guided tour where he was able to visit each classroom and interact with the students to inquire about their goals and aspirations. At the end of the tour, Representative Alexander spoke with the student body about their choices, making friends, and his own life accomplishments, which were very insightful for the students. 

Senior Juvenile Probation Officer Tonya Emsweller and Juvenile Probation Officer Ofiela Dennis from Circuit 13 volunteered in the 26th Annual Gourmet Festival on September 21, with the proceeds going towards the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women in Tampa.

The Gourmet Festival has been instrumental in helping the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women continue to offer innovative and quality services to the community. The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women is celebrating their 40th Anniversary and continues to serve over 3,000 individuals who turn to them for help each year.  

Last week, Circuit 6 Probation staff partnered with the St. Petersburg College Center for Public Safety to host its second Salon Talk in Tarpon Springs. Salon Talk is a human trafficking awareness workshop geared towards hair and nail salons in addition to others in the business community, as they are on the front lines of victim identification. Approximately 80 attendees obtained valuable information from a presentation provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The talk was followed by a panel discussion which featured experts in the subject of human trafficking and included DJJ’s own Tina Levene. I would like to thank the following DJJ team members who made this event successful: Prevention Specialist Audrey “Pat” McGhee, Special Projects Coordinator Jill Gould, Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Marilyn Walker, Juvenile Probation Officer Leia Thomas and Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell.

The Panama City Suicide Prevention Awareness Response and Education (SPARE) Advisory Board recently held their September meeting where Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki signed a proclamation declaring September 10-16 as National Suicide Prevention Week. Juvenile Probation Officer and SPARE member Kevin McKenzie was on hand for the proclamation to raise awareness for this serious mental health issue. Mayor Brudnicki, who reads the proclamation every year, stressed the importance of ongoing suicide prevention by continually watching for the warning signs.  

Pictured above: JPO Kevin McKenzie (left) and Mayor Greg Brudnicki 

Detention Facility Receives Donation from League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters of Orange County recently donated a wide variety of items to help improve the quality of life for the youth at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center. The group donated paperback books, pink carpeting and basketballs, and the donations were accepted by Superintendent Lawrence Palmer

Residential Youth Participate in Community Service Project and Visit the Art Museum of Tampa

In 2014, a partnership was born between Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) and Columbus Juvenile Residential Facility (CJRF), a non-secure program for boys, ages 10 to 18, operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions Three years later, the relationship between KTBB and CJRF continues to thrive. Earlier this month, the youth from CJRF participated in the annual Hillsborough River and Coastal Clean-up project that takes place in various locations throughout Tampa Bay. The youth from CJRF were designated to help with the cleaning of Macfarlane Park. Their duties included a complete sweep of Macfarlane Park of trash, debris etc. Engaging in these types of community service projects provides the youth with the opportunity to become active members of their community that can result in lasting and positive impact on society, while also helping them acquire life skills and knowledge.

Youth from Central Pasco Girls Academy, a nonsecure program for girls, ages 13 to 18, operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, accompanied Facility Administrator C. Roberts and Recreational Therapist A. Vazquez for a trip to the Art Museum of Tampa. The group enjoyed looking at and learning about the many artifacts, drawings, paintings, and sculptures at the museum. The group also got the opportunity to make their own collages. 

Crestview Youth Academy (CYA) BDD/DD, a secure program for boys, ages 13 to 21, operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, LLC, participated in the inaugural basketball tournament against the CYA staff. The event was established to provide CYA youth with an opportunity to participate in organized sports activities and build rapport with CYA staff. The facility director, Mr. Nixon, and youth care worker Mr. King did their best to get the win. All youth and staff were fully engaged and had a blast. After the game, the youth were treated to grilled burgers and hotdogs. The youth have been anxiously awaiting the rematch so they can gain bragging rights for a win. Unfortunately, Mr. Nixon informed the youth the rematch will be awhile, as he needs a considerable amount of time to heal!

Last week, seven youth from Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, participated in an outing at the Children’s Soccer League. The youth spoke to the kids in the league about teamwork and good sportsmanship. A few of the youth from the facility gave pointers on ball handling and showed the kids some new tricks. The youth cheered the league kids on and had a great time watching them play.

Kissimmee Youth Academy (KYA), a secure program for boys, ages 14 to 21, operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, LLC, organized a Florida Licensing on Wheels event in conjunction with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The event enabled 41 youth to secure a Florida ID card. KYA’s goal is to ensure that all youth be granted the opportunity for success by providing them with adequate education, skill development, on-site job training, and the appropriate standard ID documentation. This a major milestone for KYA and we will continue to provide these opportunities for the youth as they prepare to transition back into their respective communities! Special thanks to Ms. Buchanan, Ms. Clay and Ms. Garvin for spearheading this event.

The staff and youth from Okeechobee Girls Academy, a non‐secure program for girls, ages 13 to 18, operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, recently hosted a magical evening during their Starry Night Masquerade Ball (Prom). The Okeechobee Girls Academy would like to give a special thanks to Kristin Hann, who notified her team of the event and donated 30 dresses for the young ladies to choose from. Everyone involved really appreciated it and the girls were very thankful.

Prevention Assistant Secretary Honored with Distinguished Service Award

Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Victim Services Alice Sims received the annual Juvenile Justice Distinguished Service Award for her service, dedication and contributions in the community during the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (FCCD) 88th Annual Training Institute August 28-31 in Orlando.

In addition, Assistant Secretary Sims also delivered the opening remarks to conferees. The conference cultivates partnerships with law enforcement, the courts, corrections, probation and parole, juvenile justice and concerned citizens.   The conference attracted well over 300 participants and this year’s theme “Transcending Race and Crime in our Community Through Education, Empathy, and Engagement” addressed issues affecting our communities. 

FCCD and its members have partnered with DJJ on several worthwhile causes including facilitating mural projects at several residential commitment programs and supporting G.A.A.P. conversations between youth and law enforcement around the state. PACE Center for Girls, President & CEO, Mary Marx received the Annual Re-Entry Recognition Award.  

Pictured above: Alice Sims (left) with FCCD President Linda Brooks

Register Today for the 8th Annual Florida Faith Symposium

The eighth Annual Florida Faith Symposium will be held November 7-8, 2017, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando. The symposium is one of the state’s largest gatherings of faith leaders and government agencies joining forces to serve and strengthen Florida’s children and families.  

The conference will feature dynamic speakers, more than 35 workshops, and a variety of exhibits focused on enhancing faith- and community-based programs. Attendees can also look forward to inspiring musical performances by Dove and Grammy award-winning jazz musician Ben Tankard and the Camp Anderson Band, a youth-led group that is living proof of the positive impact of faith- and community-based programs.  

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, as well as other statewide partners. 

Early bird registration is still available at $125, for a limited time. To register and for more information, visit http://faithsymposium.com/.