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Secretary's Message

August 21, 2018

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

Staff Announcements and Kudos

Congratulations to Circuit 2 OPS File Clerk Sydney Campagna who was named the circuit’s Employee of the Month for July. Ms. Campagna is very driven and passionate about her position with the agency as she works to help turn around the lives of our youth on probation. She is also a current student at Florida State University majoring in criminology and expects to graduate this fall.

Sourcebook of Delinquency Interventions Now Updated

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s Sourcebook of Delinquency Interventions has been updated and posted to our website with twenty-two new interventions added! As part of our effort to implement evidence-based practices throughout our system, the Sourcebook catalogues information regarding cognitive-behavioral curriculums and community-based family therapies that have been proven through research to reduce recidivism and/or criminogenic needs. This document was produced by the Programming and Technical Assistance Unit, in conjunction with the Office of Research, and contains the most current information available about the delinquency interventions presented.

Detention Center Receives Gift From Probation Officer Class and Staff Attend National Night Out

Juvenile Probation Officer Class Number 86 from the Florida Public Safety Institute recently donated games to the youth at the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center. The class dropped by the facility for a game night and left the games with the youth to enjoy. 

Detention officers from the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center participated in the 35th annual National Night Out event at Lexington Terrace Park in Pensacola. The National Night Out was sponsored by Target in partnership with the Pensacola Police Department, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and CDAC Behavioral Healthcare. The event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for local anti-crime efforts, and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. 

Pictured above (from left to right): Officer Ford, Officer Miller, Sgt. Nettles, Capt. Bolton, McGruff The Crime Dog, Capt. Scott, Major Berry Sgt. Grice, Sgt. Cooks and RN Dixon

CORRECTION: We wish to correct a story from last week’s letter. Major Joseph Seeber is with the Manatee Regional Juvenile Detention Center, not the Pinellas Regional Juvenile Detention Center. 

Probation Staff Help Get Kids Ready to Get Back to School

As part of the Youth in Custody Practice Model initiative, North region probation transition provider Project Connect partners with the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding (RPCP) in providing restorative justice-based Family Reintegration Circles (FRC) for all youth and families who are willing to participate. These circles have proven very valuable in breaking down communication barriers between youth and parents/guardians during the youth’s transition period and in helping build foundational trust between the two in order to execute the youth’s individualized transition plan.

Recently in Circuit 7, Transition Specialist Nichol Ward, with the assistance of JPO Jon Johnson, conducted a FRC for a youth on their caseload. In this case, RPCP Executive Director Jeffrey Weisberg facilitated the FRC while on a site visit to conduct ongoing fidelity monitoring of FRC implementation. In addition to the youth and his parents, Project Connect Life Coach (mentor) Louise Cropley also joined the FRC. Youth, family and staff were all afforded the opportunity to see and receive this service from one of RPCP’s experts. The circle was highly effective in that it identified the pain/harm to the youth and family created by the youth’s offense and identified how the harm could be repaired. In addition, family goals were instituted which will help the family work together in building trust and repairing the harm so that it does not happen again. Repairing the family relationship is always a work in progress but this family is off to a great start!      

DJJ youth from AMIkids facilities in Jacksonville, Panama City, Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale and Pinellas participated in the organization’s annual Presidential Dive Trip at the John Pennekamp Park in the Florida Keys. More than 40 youth participated in the event and had the opportunity to experience the beauty of Florida’s coral reefs and underwater marine life. The three-day trip honors the beginnings of AMIkids as a marine-based program for troubled youth. During the trip, dozens of the youth in attendance became Open Water SCUBA certified.

Senior Juvenile Probation Officer Felicia Fowler, File Clerk Sydney Campagna and Delinquency Prevention Specialist Jashett Omeally from Circuit 2 participated in the city of Tallahassee’s annual Girls Lock-In event at the Palmer Munroe Teen Center. This event catered to young ladies, ages 12-19, and featured activities such as Zumba, painting, beauty tips, dance cardio and yoga. These activities were physically and emotionally uplifting and were designed to help build the girls confidence while learning healthy life habits.

The Circuit 2 Probation Office partnered with Goodwill Industries of the Big Bend to hold a back-to-school supply drive to benefit students at Nims Middle School in Tallahassee. Donation boxes were set up in the Circuit 2 Probation Office, DJJ Headquarters and Goodwill retail stores. The team filled nine boxes and crates to the brim with all the necessities for the students at Nims to get their school year off on the right foot. Circuit 2 would like to thank their community partners for making this supply drive successful.

Pictured above (from left to right): JPOS Tiffany Mcgriff, Vice Principal Benny Bolden, JPOS Teresa Chambliss, RS Michael Byrd, JDAI/DMC Coordinator LaMone Gibson, OPS File Clerk Sydney Campagna, SJPO Brittany Condry and SJPO Janyah Glenn.

Juvenile Probation Officer Desirae Moody and Secretary Specialist Jeanette Ryder from Circuit 3 attended the back-to-school bash at the Fort White Community Center. The event, sponsored by the Columbia County School Board, handed out over 300 backpacks filled with school supplies for all of the local children in attendance. The Circuit 3 Probation Office donated many of the school supplies. There were also many vendors and stakeholders in attendance that supplied families with resources and information about the services available to them. 

The Circuit 4 Probation team assisted with the Community Alternatives with Options class which brings together youth and their families along with faith-based and community partners. Circuit Chaplin Bernard Collins facilitates the class which provides youth and their families options for mentoring, mental health and educational services. Reform Specialist Donna Collins represented DJJ during the event which hosted ten youth on probation. The class has been in existence for the last six years and continues to grow.

Senior Juvenile Probation Officer Dollie Wygant, Education Coordinator Renette Crosby and Data Integrity Officer Susan Stormant from Circuit 8 spearheaded a school supply drive for their probationary youth in the local community. DJJ collaborated with Saint Leo University and the Alachua County Public Defender’s Office to help get the youth back-to-school ready. The team collected 31 bags of supplies which were then hand delivered to our probationary youth and their families in Alachua County.

Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor Marilyn Walker, Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee and Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell teamed up with young ladies from the Pinellas County Girls Court to hand out backpacks and school supplies during the Police Athletic League’s Back-to-School event in the Lealman Community Center in St. Petersburg. Hundreds of youth benefited from the school supplies that were handed out. The DJJ team also set up a resource table where they handed out family engagement brochures.

Reform Specialist Adrienne Conwell and Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee also attended the Police Athletic League’s Back-to-School event in downtown St. Petersburg. The team handed out backpacks and school supplies while disseminating DJJ brochures to hundreds of families.

Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor (JPOS) Matthew Borboa and Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) Karen Medina from Circuit 12 spoke to students at the TRIAD alternative school in Sarasota. JPOS Borboa and JPO Medina spoke about how the legal system works for juveniles and about the services DJJ provides that will help guide them through the court system and lead them to a brighter future. Following the event, Sarasota County Schools Program Specialist Millie Wheeler sent the e-mail below praising our officers. It reads:

“A HUGE thank you to Matt Borboa and Karen Medina for supporting Sarasota County Schools and Triad students this morning. They did a phenomenal job speaking to our youth about making positive decisions and staying crime-free. I love working with the DJJ family and look forward to our continued partnership! Thank you all for all you do for our kids!”

Juvenile Probation Officers Diana Clarke and Jeneen St. Louis from Circuit 10 participated in the Babies and Bumps community baby shower in Highlands County. The event was hosted by the Highlands County Teen Pregnancy Alliance and featured nearly twenty local vendors. The shower was for new and expecting mothers to provide them with information on healthcare, pregnancy concerns, baby growth, birthing experience, postpartum concerns and other educational resources. The Circuit 10 DJJ team donated clothes, diapers, wipes and other essential baby items.

Assistant Chief Probation Officer Dorothy Malik and Senior Juvenile Probation Officer Karl Dorelien from Circuit 19 attended the 17th annual Health, Wellness and Safety Fair. The fair was presented by the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. The fair provided our staff a great opportunity to connect with community stakeholders while disseminating information about DJJ initiatives to the local community.

The Circuit 19 Probation staff held their annual back-to-school bash in St. Lucie County. The event featured multiple community stakeholders and hundreds of youth and their families were in attendance to receive school supplies, eat lunch and enjoy some fabulous entertainment. Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor George Connolly served as the MC for the event and provided hours of music for everyone to enjoy. The event was a great success and a fantastic way to connect with the community and share our DJJ initiatives.

PACE Girls Participate in College Training and Prevention Staff Attend Gang Conference

Fifteen young ladies from the PACE Center for Girls in Jacksonville and Clay County participated in the College Girl Boot Camp at the Saint Johns River State College-Orange Park Campus (SJRSC). The boot camp was an intensive four days of training where they toured the campus and learned about programs offered by the school. The girls also had the opportunity to work directly with college faculty and staff to learn about the resources available to students on campus, including financial aid and tutoring.

This is the first program of its kind offered at SJRSC- Orange Park campus and the girls that participated had a great time. PACE girl, Rachel said, “I never thought about going to college, but College Girl Boot Camp taught me that there is more than one path to take. It really changed my mind about what I can accomplish.”

You might remember the story from last week’s letter in which the Kindervision Foundation named Sickles High School as the Tampa area winner for the Greatest Save Teen PSA Program. I am pleased to share that Kindervision has recently named Niceville High School in Okaloosa County as their statewide winner of the contest. The teens at Niceville created a safety message called, ‘Don’t Trust Strangers.”

The Greatest Save Teen PSA Program is a statewide peer-to-peer crime prevention program funded by our agency that raises awareness among teens to prevent victimization. Teens choose a topic that fits their school and community, then they create a 30 second safety message for their peers. This video can be seen at www.TeenPSA.org.

DJJ staff members including Yvonne Woodard, Pat McGhee, Jason Pinmentel, Paul Britten, Susan Coufranan, Jill Wells, Garret Tucker and Neil Steir attended the 21st International Gang Specialist Training Conference in Chicago. The conference was hosted by the National Gang Crime Research Center (NGCRC), an organization that has pioneered the field of preventing gang crime by promoting research on gangs and publishing useful information to assist federal, state, and local government agencies. The conference provided an incredible array of different professional gang prevention training sessions. Trainees were able to attend these session and return home to their respective agencies equipped to train others.

Staff attendance at the training was made possible by the DJJ Title II Formula Grant to support prevention and intervention efforts directed at reducing gang-related activities. This training will help to address issues related to youth gang activity. Each staff member was required to attend three days of training to accomplish 24 hours of on-site training hours.

Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Victim Services Alice Sims served as the keynote speaker during the recent Juvenile Probation Officer graduation ceremony at DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee. Assistant Secretary Sims provided an emotional and impactful speech that will hopefully remain with our graduates throughout their careers as probation officers.

Assistant Secretary Sims remarks ushered the JPOs into a network of criminal justice professionals who will join forces to strengthen DJJ and fulfill its public safety mission. She told the new JPOs that they would be in the business of impacting families and changing lives by offering advice, counseling and mentoring to the youth they encounter.

Assistant Secretary for Residential Teaches Yoga and Youth Visit College Campus

By now, many of us have heard that good leaders are flexible. Less rigidity allows us to deal with diverse individuals and gives us the ability to adapt to various circumstances. With that being said, Assistant Secretary for Residential Laura Moneyham recently demonstrated her effective leadership by leading an hour and a half yoga class at Broward Youth Treatment Center (BYTC), a non-secure program for boys, operated by Youth Opportunity Investments YOI.

The yoga class was quite entertaining. Participants learned how to do the yoga pose “down dog” and various other moves. Assistant Secretary Moneyham and Regional Director Michelle McCarthy (both pros) twisted and stretched with the slightest of ease as the sweat poured down the brow of the class members trying to keep up.

The class was a resounding success and received participation from youth and staff at the facility including most notably, YOI Florida Director Joseph Nixon, Facility Administrator Latoya Singletary and Assistant Facility Administrator Carmita Rosenberg. DJJ Safety and Security Specialist Shandria Striggles was also in attendance, but her role was more of moral support for Mr. Nixon who was enthusiastic but required much coaching.

It was definitely a good time with the Assistant Secretary and a learning experience at the same time. Sometimes things that look easy require much more work when you participate yourself. Special thanks to Assistant Secretary Moneyham and Director McCarthy for a great time at BYTC!

A few days later, the young men of Broward Youth Treatment Center (BYTC), a non-secure program for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, visited the amazing and extremely interactive campus of FIU-Biscayne Bay. This campus is definitely one of a kind as it focuses on the marine biology major. The innovation of a classroom literally under water makes this campus very popular. The Aquarius Reef Base is a comprehensive research and education program consisting of complementary assets that can be used together or individually to meet specific project needs. Aquarius Reef Base consists of the Aquarius undersea lab, a life support buoy on the surface that houses power generators, air compressors and data connections, research vessels ranging in length from 3043 feet length overall, and a mission control center in Islamorada, Florida. The young men really enjoyed themselves and are extremely excited to get home and continue their education to earn a college degree. Special thanks to the FIU tour staff for their help with providing the group with a lot of great information for the students.

The youth at Crestview Youth Academy (CYA) a non-secure and secure residential facility for boys operated by Youth Opportunity Investments, had the opportunity to celebrate their very own superheroes…the CYA staff! Throughout the week they showed the staff just how much they appreciate them by giving them a daily dose of superpower. Staff showed off their style with Jersey Day & Dress Like A Superhero Day. They ended the week with the Superhero Awards, where the staff and youth voted on fun superlatives. Thanks to the hard work of the Morale Committee President LaKaron Thomas and VP Elisa Anderson, the first staff appreciation week was a great success. The staff look forward to many more to come!

Before the summer ended, five “All-Star” youth from Duval Academy, a non-secure program for boys operated by Sequel, participated in an outing to Velocity Air Sports in Jacksonville. All-Stars are youth who have shown excellent behavior in every aspect of the program. The youth had a blast on the indoor trampolines, foam pits, basketball hoops and arcade. Some of the youth tried walking across the foam pit on a tight rope and they found it to be much harder than it looked. All had a great time and are looking forward to the next exciting outing!

Youth from Duval Academy also visited Oceanway Elementary School with members of the program’s advisory board to help them get ready for the new school year. The youth assembled furniture, helped carry supplies, and assisted teachers with getting their classrooms in order. The youth had a great time giving back and gained a better understanding of the restorative justice process, while helping teachers prepare for the new school year.

Youth from Melbourne Center for Personal Growth, a non-secure program for boys operated by AMIkids, had a chance to meet Mark Pieloch. Mark is the owner of the American Muscle Car Museum. He gave a personal tour for the boys and even allowed them to sit in some of the cars.

The museum has almost 300 cars under one roof and is the largest "green" car museum in the U.S. It was a great time for all in attendance!

Five youth from Miami Youth Academy, a non-secure program for males operated by TrueCore Behavioral Solutions, showed support toward stamping out hunger. The youth were escorted by Youth Specialists Krystal Aguilar and Michael Jordan to Feeding South Florida’s main warehouse in Pembroke Park to package about 33,500 lbs. of food items that will feed senior citizens across South Florida. The youth and staff learned some fascinating facts about food shelf life, extending non-perishable food and the impact of hunger on our community.

Feeding South Florida (FSF) rescues 46 million pounds of food per year to help serve the 710,370 individuals in South Florida struggling to put food on the table. FSF works with a network of 400 nonprofit partner agencies, such as soup kitchens and food pantries, to ensure that food assistance is provided throughout the quad-county service area.