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Secretary's Message

February 20, 2018

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter

It is with heavy hearts that our state and nation mourn the loss of 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. As parents and guardians, it is painful to feel that we are unable to keep our children safe when we send them to school. These unspeakable acts of violence cannot be tolerated and we must work together to help protect our students and our schools. I am incredibly thankful for the swift action taken by our law enforcement officers in Broward County and for the work they continue to do during this difficult time.

If you would like to help during this time, OneBlood has responded to meet the current blood needs of the Parkland area hospitals, however OneBlood is requesting that those who are able donate O negative in order to replenish supply. You can find donation locations here: https://www.oneblood.org/donate-now/.

Please keep the victims, their families, and the Broward County community in your thoughts during this time of grief and recovery.


Christina K. Daly

PACE Center for Girls Day at the Florida Capitol

Last Wednesday, I had the great honor to join Assistant Secretary for Prevention Alice Sims and President and CEO of the PACE Center for Girls Mary Marx for the kickoff rally for the annual PACE Center for Girls Day at the Capitol. I had the opportunity to say a few words and to read Governor Rick Scott’s proclamation, recognizing March 2018 as Believing in Girls Month.

During this special day, the PACE girls met with legislators and spoke about the impact that PACE has had on them. Cheyenne, a 17-year-old PACE youth also shared her story of challenges she faced earlier in life at home and school prior to her PACE involvement. She said PACE helped her see a brighter future.

Pictured above (from left to right): myself, Cheyenne and PACE President Mary Marx

Since its founding in 1985, PACE has transformed the lives of more than 40,000 at-risk girls. PACE works with middle and high school girls who are at risk for dropping out of school, human trafficking, or involvement in the juvenile justice system.  PACE Center for Girls recently opened its 20th location in Florida, and serves more than 3,000 girls each year across the state.

In honor of Black History Month please enjoy the following submission, written by Warren Garrison from the Bureau of Monitoring and Quality Improvement:

In recognition of Black History Month, we would like to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of African Americans working in key positions in the Department and who have made an impact on shaping the lives of youth in our care and custody. The Department has made tremendous contributions to lives of youth and their families we serve. 

According to the Disproportionate Minority Contact/Racial Ethnic Disparity Benchmark Report FY 2015-16, more than 50 percent of the population served by the Department was African American youth. The Department’s acknowledgement of this disparity has provided an opportunity for us to hire staff from various backgrounds and ethnicities to provide quality services and compassionate care to our youth.  Since the Department’s inception, there have been three African American secretaries, Calvin Ross, Frank Peterman, and Walt McNeil;  three African American deputy secretaries, Woodrow Harper, Rod Love, and Robert Woody; and two female secretaries, Wansley Walters and Christina Daly.  In addition, we have the first African American Assistant Secretary for Probation & Community Intervention, Mr. Paul Hatcher.

Today, we have African Americans serving in key leadership roles throughout the Department, such as the assistant secretary for Prevention & Victim Services, the director of administration, the director of Staff Development and Training, regional directors, chief probation officers, superintendents, and the chief of Human Resources. The Department, through its commitment to Florida’s youth, continues to reinforce life goal achievements. The history and legacy of our many leaders in the Department sets an example for us all to follow.

In closing, please read the following quote from a man who has been called the father of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, “For me, education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”

Probation Staff Help Bring Awareness to Teen Dating Violence 

DJJ staff from Circuit 19 participated in the annual Teen Dating Violence Symposium in Port Saint Lucie, sponsored by We Leap, Inc. and the Circuit 19 Faith Community Network. The symposium welcomed youth, families and community providers to come and discuss healthy relationships. In addition, the symposium featured an array of guest speakers who spoke about consent, signs that teens may be in an abusive relationship, and many other issues relating to dating violence issues. Following the symposium, teens and providers participated in a march to raise awareness for teen dating violence.

Pictured above (from left to right): JPO Chris Barkman, We Leap/DJJ FCN CAB Representative Gwen McLeod, ACPO Dorothy Malik, and Jovona Parker from Florida Rule Legal Services.

DJJ youth from the AMIkids Gadsden program were invited to the “Real World” youth empowerment workshop as a part of Children’s Week activities at the Florida State University Club Center. The youth received hands-on experience for real life situations that they will face once they graduate from high school and live on their own. The students attended workshops such as banking and budgeting, understanding insurance and living arrangements. The youth also heard from local leaders who spoke about their careers.

I’m happy to share the following success story from the Eckerd Connects Project Bridge Program in Miami:

Cedric is one of our most dedicated and motivated youth we have had the pleasure of working with in Circuit 11 Eckerd Connects Project Bridge. Not only has this youth maintained a successful status as a Miami-Dade County Public School student, Cedric has also held down a position at the Firebird restaurant in Pembroke Pines. Cedric has showed outstanding improvement through his tenure at Project Bridge.

Kudos to you Cedric!

Circuit 10 probation staff members honored two of their youth for Youth Success Day who have made fantastic strides since making contact with our agency. Eighteen-year-old youth Q.I. (pictured below right) initially made contact with DJJ back in 2013. After successfully completing his residential commitment in January 2016, he was placed on probation and has kept out of trouble ever since. Q.I. has been working full-time for a major retailor and dreams of receiving his commercial driver’s license and becoming a certified truck driver one day.

Youth I.W. (pictured below left) was committed to the Department back in 2016 and completed his commitment in October of last year. He is currently in compliance with all of his probation sanctions and is currently a 9th grader at George Jenkins High School in Lakeland where he maintains a 3.0 grade point average.


Detention Youth Participate in Service Project and Staff Host Volunteer Appreciation Dinner  

The Hillsborough Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) hosted an appreciation dinner and training session for their volunteers in the local community. The facility wanted to pay tribute to these wonderful people who volunteer their time and talents to help better the lives of the youth at Hillsborough RJDC. Juvenile Detention Officer Felicia Kearse, Facility Training Coordinator Charlsene Wilcox, System Management Analyst Karla Edwards, Captain Carla Craig-Wright and Captain Kiva Hagans helped to serve dinner to the guests.  

Pictured above (from left to right): JJDO Kearse, Facility Training Coordinator Wilcox, SMAII Karla Edwards, Capt. Craig-Wright and Capt. Hagans

DJJ Employee Annie Williams from the North Regional Office for Detention Services helped to organize the Tallahassee Night to Shine Event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation on February 9 at the Centre of Tallahassee Pavilion. This nationwide event, sponsored locally by the Genesis Church of Tallahassee, served 90,000 guests. 537 churches nationwide and in 16 countries, supported by 175,000 volunteers, celebrated 90,000 kings and queens at Night to Shine, an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God's love for people with special needs.  

Night to Shine is a prom for people with special needs ages 14 and over. Guests are celebrated with a red carpet, crowns and tiaras, corsages and boutonnieres, limo rides, games, dancing, dinner, photo portraits and VIP treatment. The vision is to provide an unforgettable night full of faith, hope and love for the amazing people with special needs. The Tallahassee event gets bigger every year with close to 1500 volunteers who celebrated over 638 guests with special needs at this year’s event. To see more from this unforgettable evening, check out the Genesis Church of Tallahassee Facebook page for a video of this special event. 

Pictured above: Annie Williams (left) with Pastor Scott Hunter from Genesis Church

The young ladies from the Manatee Regional Juvenile Detention Center participated in a fabulous service project to benefit Turning Points Homeless Assistance in Bradenton. The girls decorated shoes to donate to those less fortunate. All of the artwork was done freehand and completed within two hours.

Superintendent Conrad McCray from the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center attended the Success Academy iNetwork luncheon at the Ghazvini Learning Center in Tallahassee. The luncheon provides students the chance to have lunch and meet with representatives of various careers in the local community in a small group setting. Major McCray discussed the many careers that the Department has to offer. 

Pictured above (from left to right): Principal Richard Richardson of Ghazvini Learning Center, Superintendent Rocky Hannah of Leon County School, and Major McCray 

Prevention Staff Attend Expo for Parents and Youth


Delinquency Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee and Circuit 6 Chief Probation Officer Melissa Fuller recently attended the Youth Programs Expo and Panel Discussion hosted by United States Congressman Charlie Crist at the Childs Park Recreational Center in St. Petersburg. The purpose of the meeting was to begin a dialogue about how youth organizations can collaborate to create a seamless process where parents and kids can take advantage of the positive opportunities and activities available for them.

The event was a huge success and showcased organizations in the district that provide programs for Pinellas youth and follows a series of three events held to discuss solutions to the community’s teen car theft epidemic.  One of the solutions frequently proposed involves keeping students engaged in activities outside of the classroom and during sports off seasons.  

Pictured above: Pat McGhee (left) and Congressman Charlie Crist 

In addition, the Congressman’s office would like to begin a dialogue between the organizations about working together and creating year-round programs, so participants may be able to move from one program to another without long periods of idle time, which has statistically been associated with criminal activity.

DJJ youth from the PACE Center for Girls of Pasco County took a tour of the Publix Corporate Headquarters in Lakeland to learn more about career opportunities with the grocery chain. While visiting, the girls also toured the customer care center and social media department to see how Publix interacts with their customers outside of the stores. After the tour, students met and spoke with the President and CEO of Publix Todd Jones. At the end of the day, the girls visited the dairy processing plant and learned how raw milk is turned into a variety of products for Publix. The group even got to sample some limited-edition ice cream flavors.

Pictured above: Todd Jones, President and CEO of Publix, speaks to PACE girls at lunch

Monitoring and Quality Improvement Employee Inducted into Hall of Fame

Congratulations to South Regional Monitor Gary Mogan with the Bureau of Monitoring and Quality Improvement (MQI), who was recently inducted into his high school Hall of Fame, not only for accomplishments in athletics, but also for career achievements after graduation. Gary earned eight varsity sports letters during his three years of high school in Circleville, Ohio. After high school, he went on to Defiance College in Ohio, where he earned three letters in football while serving as defensive co-captain in his senior year and also four letters in college wrestling. 

Gary has been associated with the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) for the past twenty-five years in baseball, girls’ softball, and wrestling. Currently he is the volunteer chairman of the FHSAA Baseball Rules Advisory Committee. In addition to being active with high school athletics, he has found time to write and publish three novels. He has also written articles for the nationally circulated “Referee Magazine” on sports rules and inspiring other officials to follow their dreams of being an athletic official. Gary has worked for the Department of Juvenile Justice for the past twenty-seven years in multiple capacities with Probation and Community Intervention, Residential Services, Administrative Review, Redirections, and his current position with MQI.

Staff Development and Training Hosts Supervisor Training and Attends Black History Program

DJJ’s L.E.A.D. Institute, in partnership with Orlando’s Valencia College, hosted a Supervisor Training for fourteen DJJ staff members February 4-9. Staff members from across the state in the areas of detention, probation and information technology learned training topics such as Addressing Difficult Staff Behaviors, Ethical Leadership, Customer Service in Government, Multi-Generations, and Emotional Intelligence. Each staff completed a DiSC assessment to provide them with a workplace profile to assist them as supervisors.  Prior to graduation, each person created an action plan of at least three areas of implementation upon returning to their facility.    

Participants: Rousan Davidson, Circuit 1 Probation, Fred Vrgora, Circuit 1 Probation, Erick Delgado, Pasco RJDC, Alrick Griffiths, SW RJDC, Amanda Nelson, Circuit 12, Probation, Tuwuana Rossin, Circuit 3 Probation, Katesha Austin, Hillsborough RJDC, Bridget Orey, Circuit 7, Probation, Sergio Savion, Circuit 16 Probation, Deanna Johnson, Circuit 7 Probation, Qualia Turner, Pinellas RJDC, Michael Mohr, Collier RJDC, Roy McCall, IT/HQ, and Matthew Berroa, Circuit 12 Probation

Last week, Criminal Justice professionals attended the 11th Annual Black History Program at the Florida Public Safety Institute (FPSI).  The theme of the program was African Americans Embracing the Challenges in the World Today.  Major Conrad McCray (pictured left) from Leon Regional Detention Center spoke to the participants to the program and provided a rousing and thought-provoking welcome to all in attendance.  Tributes were also paid to officers who have fallen in the line of duty this past year.   This year’s guest speaker was Warden Edward Griffin of Hernando Correctional Institution.  The program also took the time to honor three African Americans who have had a distinguished career in criminal justice including Chief Glenn Sapp of the Quincy Police Department and Gigi Hawthorne of the Florida Public Safety Institute.  ELT member Cina Wilson Johnson along with other SD&T staff were also in attendance at the program. 

Residential Youth Enjoy Super Bowl Parties and Meet an NFL Star

Challenge Youth Academy, a non-secure program for boys, ages 13 to 18, operated by Eckerd Connects, had a surprise guest speaker earlier this week. Ha'Sean Treshon "Ha Ha" Clinton-Dix, star NFL player for the Green Bay Packers, was touring Home Builders Institute (HBI) programs with Vice President of HBI Tadar Muhammad and they were kind enough to conduct an impromptu tour of Challenge Youth Academy. Mr. Clinton-Dix was able to tour not only the HBI building but also one of the dorms to get a sense of a day in the life of the youth and their living environment.

When speaking with the youth, Mr. Clinton-Dix found that several of the youth were from neighborhoods he was familiar with and knew their family members as well. This provided a unique perspective for those youth as Mr. Clinton- Dix gave expectations for them when they returned to their neighborhoods and informed them he would stay abreast of their progress through their families.

Mr. Clinton Dix then provided a positive message to the entire youth community during the impromptu guest speaking engagement and answered every question that he was asked. One of the questions that a youth asked of Mr. Clinton-Dix, to the amusement of the community, was if the NFL was rigged. Mr. Clinton-Dix, who answered rather quickly with a smile, questioned “are you trying to get me fired?”

These examples of Mr. Clinton-Dix’s real personality made an impression on our youth as it gave them someone to role model, not only because he comes from the same neighborhoods as they do, but because he demonstrates the hard work that it takes to be successful. As Mr. Clinton-Dix was leaving at the end of the guest speaking engagement, he shook every youth’s hand and left the youth with positive thoughts to help motivate them. Special thanks goes to Tadar Muhammad for facilitating this visit with Mr. Clinton-Dix. Challenge Youth Academy would also like to thank Mr. Clinton-Dix for this special experience.

Cypress Creek, a secure program for boys, ages 15 to 21, operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, held a Super Bowl party for the youth to reward positive behavior. The youth had to make 25 out of 30 days, receive an On-Track rating during formal treatment team, and receive zero incidents or codes to make it into the party. 35 youth attended the party to reward their behavior. At the party, the youth enjoyed typical football party food including chicken wings, homemade hamburger sliders, and chili cheese fries with super sweet Kool-Aid to drink.

Last week, the Hastings Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment Program and Gulf Academy, both of which are non-secure programs for boys and are operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, celebrated the Super Bowl by having a party. The youth dined on wings, chips, soda, and cupcakes. While most of the youth were rooting for the Patriots because they wanted to see Tom Brady win another ring, a few were pleasantly surprised by the upset.

A few days later, the Hastings and Gulf Youth Academy took five young men to the Ichiban Buffet in St. Augustine. The youth dined on several plates of rice, sweet and sour chicken, wontons, and other Chinese delicacies. They topped off their outing with ice cream. All of these youth have shown progress in their goals and are positive peers for the facility.

Earlier this month Hastings and Gulf Youth Academy conducted a car wash to raise money for Jaylinne’s Journey, a charity set up to benefit an employee’s granddaughter who is battling Leukodystrophy, a degenerative brain disease. The car wash held by the youth, along with a 50/50 raffle, raised over $400 for the charity. Thank you to these young men for their hard work and the employees for their generous donations.

Earlier this month, Miami Youth Academy, non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, experienced harvest time in their vegetable garden. The youth were delighted to share the exciting news happening in the community. The community partnerships helped the youth learn how to grow organic foods and about the ecology of gardening. The garden consists of collard and mustard greens, cherry, beef steak and hybrid tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and snap beans. From the garden to the kitchen, Miami Youth Academy picked from the garden and learned from the food service staff how to prepare the vegetables for consumption.

Ten youth from Miami Youth Academy joined in the national celebration of American football’s biggest game: Super Bowl LII – AFC vs. NFC. Thanks to our very special and talented recreational therapist and our recreational therapist interns from local universities, these deserving youths received personalized admissions tickets for front row seats to the game. The youth enjoyed pizza, chips and dip, popcorn, and several other goodies that can be found at the Super Bowl. It was a great time for all in attendance!