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Secretary's Messages


  • Gina Castaneda, a juvenile probation officer from Santa Cruz, California, presented to a standing room only crowd in Orlando at a pre-conference seminar on Monday.
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  • On Thursday, I was elated to address nearly 400 children and their parents on the 22nd Floor of the Florida Capitol for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. This annual event, sponsored by the Department of Economic Opportunity, showcased twenty exhibitors from a wide variety of organizations to learn hands-on about career opportunities in Florida.
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  • As the 2014 Florida Legislative Session comes to a close, I am elated to report that House Bill 7055, which contains our agency’s revisions to Chapter 985 of Florida Statutes, passed the full Legislature unanimously this week.
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  • On Tuesday, I was honored to walk the final mile from the Governor’s Square Mall to the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee as a part of the Walk in My Shoes 2014 event created by Lauren Book.
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  • Floridians across the state have been seeing the benefits of Florida’s opportunity economy. Our unemployment rate is down, our labor force is increasing, and we have created more than half a million new private sector jobs. These exciting opportunities would not have been possible without our public servants. Your hard work is helping to make even more investments to improve the lives and health of Florida families.
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  • On Tuesday, I was honored to award our 2014 Youth Ambassadors on the steps of the Florida Capitol as a part of Youth Success Day.
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  • I am pleased to honor Senior Management Analyst Supervisor Jacklyn Colson as DJJ’s Employee of the Month for February 2014.
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  • I was pleased to join First Lady Ann Scott and Eckerd at a ceremony yesterday at the Challenge Juvenile Residential Facility in Brooksville to honor the 2012-13 Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year Award winner Ms. Edie Flores
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  • This week, Circuit 6 DJJ staff hosted a delegation from Delaware who traveled down to our fair state to learn more about the Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project in Pinellas County.
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  • During the recent opening of the 2014 Legislative Session, we took the time to review how far Florida has come. Four years ago, unemployment was high, home values were shrinking and more people left the state of Florida than moved in from other states.
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  • I am thrilled to share that Governor Scott announced today the opening of the new Miami Center of the Pace Center for Girls.
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  • Earlier this week I along with Assistant Secretary of Residential Services Laura Moneyham, Residential Northwest Region Director Mary Mills, Program Monitor Supervisor Lori Jernigan, and Deputy Communications Director Heather DiGiacomo, had the pleasure to visit and tour two residential facilities in Northwest Florida. Thank you to Lori for working so closely with the programs on arranging our visit!
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  • This week marked the last legislative committee week before the start of the Florida Legislative Session on March 4. I am thrilled to report that our two legislative priorities gained significant steam and momentum this week.
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  • As I shared last week, the American Correctional Association (ACA) celebrated its 2014 Winter Conference in Tampa and was remiss in not thanking Regional Director Timothy Niermann. Director Niermann, who coordinated the DJJ volunteers, reported that 33 staff members from Probation, Detention and Residential Services volunteered to work during the conference.
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  • This past weekend, I, along with Deputy Secretary Christy Daly and Director of Special Projects Brenda Posthumus, attended the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators’ (CJCA) Winter Business Meeting in Tampa.
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  • Thanks to our pro-growth policies, focus on job creation, and the work of Florida’s public servants, our state has made a great economic turnaround over the last three years. Recently, we unveiled our 2014-2015 “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.”
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  • This week I have been traveling the state hosting community conversations and visiting some of our wonderful programs.
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  • On Wednesday, Governor Scott announced that youth arrests in Florida have dropped 23 percent in the last fiscal year – the lowest rate in thirty years. Key indicators used to measure public safety and juvenile delinquency show that Florida had drastic reductions in nearly every juvenile offense category, including major offenses.
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  • Florida’s economy continues to improve, thanks to your hard work. With the unemployment rate down to 6.4 percent, it is clear our state is moving forward. But we aren’t done yet.
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  • Over the last year, I have shared with you all many great stories about therapy dogs Justice and Oliver who are stationed at the Miami Dade RJDC and Southwest RJDC respectively. I could lay out more endless statistics to show you what you already know: canine therapy works in juvenile facilities.
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