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Secretary's Messages


  • 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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  • All DJJ employees must have a performance evaluation completed for the rating period ending December 31, 2013 (the period covers 4/1/13 – 12/31/13). The Department of Management Services has encouraged all agencies to have their evaluations completed by January 31, 2014.
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  • On Monday, DJJ partnered with Living Stones International to host a holiday fellowship dinner for Capital Area children with incarcerated parents at the New Birth Tabernacle of Praise Church in Tallahassee.
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  • Today, I had the opportunity to watch a stupendous presentation on Success Through Empowerment Program (STEP) by JPOS Lana Wilcox and JPO Tracy Magwood, JPO. Thank you, ladies; it was quite impressive!
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  • With our unemployment rate below the national average and more private sector jobs being created every month, Floridians across the state are enjoying the benefits of our recent economic turnaround.
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  • This week I spent some time on the road with the Office of Prevention as they continued their Community Conversation Tour.
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  • This week, Deputy Secretary Christy Daly and I, along with a select group of residential staff and residential providers, traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to meet with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and leaders from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, which houses the state’s Juvenile Justice Program.
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  • This week, our agency, along with the Department of Children and Families, hosted the Fourth Annual National Faith Symposium, “Our Children, Our Future: Restoring Hope.” The symposium was held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando and the two-day event brought nearly 400 faith leaders from around the country to share ideas and best practices for integrating faith-based organizations into our work to help at-risk children, youth and families.
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  • On Tuesday, I had the honor of speaking at the 2013 Tallahassee Community College Scholarship lunch. In 2008, TCC started its New Start Scholarship, which is awarded to individuals who have been involved in the juvenile justice system and Tuesday’s lunch recognized Kierra Howell, the first New Start recipient to graduate.
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  • This week, I had the pleasure of joining the Office of Prevention at a community conversation in Gulf County. The meeting was well attended and local residents took the time to share their concerns regarding at-risk and delinquent youth, as well as the many ongoing efforts taking place in the community to steer troubled youth toward positive decisions that will help them avoid the juvenile justice system.
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  • This week, I had the pleasure of joining Office of Prevention at two community conversations, in Madison and Gilchrest counties. We had great attendance at both meetings and I was thrilled that DJJ staff from the region and local residents took the time to share their concerns regarding at-risk and delinquent youth, as well as the many ongoing efforts taking place in the community to steer troubled youth toward positive decisions that will help them avoid the juvenile justice system.
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